A number of languages have been argued to establish basic word order by means of VP-fronting (e.g. Kayne 1994; Massam 2001 and many others). However, many such analyses face an overgeneration problem: some material thought to be VP-internal never appears fronted and must apparently always be stranded (Chung 2005; Massam 2010). This paper first provides novel evidence for VP-fronting in an SVO language, the understudied Polynesian outlier Imere (Vanuatu), motivated by the placement of adverbial particles. But this analysis too suffers from the stranding problem: VP-fronting cannot drag along any DPs, PPs, and CPs. At the same time, Imere has a familiar SVO VP, with no evidence of vacating movements or an unorthodox base-generated structure. To solve this issue, I propose that VP-fronting is accompanied by distributed deletion (Fanselow and Ćavar 2001), driven by a constraint that favors realizing only the verb. I extend this analysis to eight other VP-fronting languages, from five different language families. In all these languages, what remains in the fronted VP is a structurally reduced dependent, like an adverbial particle or a determinerless object. Building on Clemens (2014, 2019), I adopt a constraint that requires dependents of a head that spell out in the same phase to remain adjacent, thus surviving distributed deletion.

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