Sentences like That’s a beautiful dress you’re wearing are commonly heard in colloquial English. These sentences have a surface form that resembles identificational copular sentences with relative clause modifiers (e.g., This is the house I mentioned) and cleft sentences with demonstrative subjects (e.g., That was John that I saw). Ever since Higgins’s (1973) seminal work, English copular sentences have received much attention, but sentences like That’s a beautiful dress you’re wearing have not been part of that discussion. In this squib, I show how these sentences are both similar and dissimilar to identificationals and clefts, and suggest a formal analysis that captures their characteristic properties.
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January 05 2022
That’s a Curious Copular Construction You Have There!
In Special Collection: CogNet
Online Issn: 1530-9150
Print Issn: 0024-3892
© 2020 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistic Inquiry (2022) 53 (1): 168–181.
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Min-Joo Kim; That’s a Curious Copular Construction You Have There!. Linguistic Inquiry 2022; 53 (1): 168–181. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/ling_a_00404
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