Abstract

Much current theorizing analyzes ellipsis as a PF operation silencing designated syntactic domains from which focal constituents are extracted prior to deletion.1 In many cases, this requires exceptional evacuation movements that are not observed—and often altogether illicit—in corresponding nonelliptical forms. We introduce a novel set of data involving modal particles in German that militates strongly against obligatory movement of ellipsis remnants, suggesting that deletion instead applies to independently generated surface forms, in a manner analogous to deaccenting. The discussion will focus on clausal ellipsis only, ignoring other, crosslinguistically less common types of incompleteness such as VP-ellipsis and pseudogapping.

1 Move and Delete?

Ever since Merchant’s (2004) groundbreaking work on short answers, much of the theoretical literature has accepted a conception of ellipsis as a bona fide syntactic phenomenon, involving both movement (in narrow syntax) and deletion (at PF). To illustrate, consider B’s short answer in (1), an instance of clausal ellipsis. Merchant argues that a fragment of this kind is derived by Ā-movement of the remnant to a left-peripheral focus position (2a) and subsequent deletion of TP (2b), paralleling the derivation of sluicing (Ross 1969, Merchant 2001).

(1)

  • A:

    Who did Mary talk to yesterday?

  • B:

    John.

(2)

  • a.

    [FP John FE [TP she talked to t yesterday]] →

  • b.

    [FP John FE [TPshe talked to t yesterday]]

Merchant proposes that deletion is triggered by an E(llipsis)-feature borne by a licensing head (F in (2), or C in sluicing). Remnants move to the specifier of this head, thereby escaping the ellipsis site (TP, on this approach). This move-and-delete approach (henceforth, MDA) is the predominant theoretical framework for the study of ellipsis in the current generative literature, often adopted without argument (see, e.g., Brunetti 2003, Heck and Müller 2003, Wang and Wu 2006, Toosarvandani 2008, Nakao 2009, Boone 2014, Ortega-Santos, Yoshida, and Nakao 2014, Sailor and Thoms 2014, Weir 2014, Yoshida, Nakao, and Ortega-Santos 2015).

In support of the MDA, Merchant (2004) presents a number of constraints on fragments that appear to derive from constraints on movement. However, it remains to be seen whether these restrictions can receive alternative, more principled explanations—for example, on the basis of pragmatic factors (see Weir 2014, Ott and Struckmeier 2017). Be that as it may, it is clear that the MDA introduces a systematic asymmetry between elliptical and nonelliptical forms, in that the derivation of the former necessitates movements not required for the latter. As a result, the MDA requires movements that are otherwise illegitimate even in simple cases like (1B), since English does not normally front answer foci (see Brunetti 2003 on Italian). Thus, the natural nonelliptical variant of the fragment in (1) in the same context is (3a), not (3b) (here and below, capitals indicate stress, italics deaccenting).

(3)

  • a.

    She talked to JOHN yesterday.

  • b.

    #JOHN she talked to yesterday.

The assumption that (1B) derives from (3b), rather than from the independently available (3a), has significant implications for acquisition, burdening the learner in effect with acquiring a special syntax for elliptical constructions. The problem is even more severe for verb particles, bare-quantifier fragments like everyone, negative polarity items like any book, nonextractable PPs, and other categories that resist Ā-movement but can nevertheless surface as ellipsis remnants (see Valmala 2007, Weir 2014, and Dagnac to appear for a battery of pertinent examples).

The problem of exceptional movement is further amplified by cases involving multiple remnants, which necessitate otherwise illicit multiple fronting. For instance, multiple sluicing in English (4) requires multiple wh-fronting; why-stripping (5B) requires exceptional fronting of the second remnant; and swiping (6) requires inversion of the fronted wh-phrase and its associated preposition (Merchant 2002).

(4) Some student gave a gift to some teacher, but I don’t know which student to which teacher.

(5)

  • A:

    Peter kissed Mary last week.

  • B:

    Why Mary?

(6) John went to the movies, but I don’t know who with.

Given that the MDA insists on a systematically exceptional syntax for elliptical forms, it faces the challenge of having to reconcile the presumed reality of these exceptional movements with an empirically significant degree of restrictiveness, so as not to sacrifice its predictive power. The way in which the MDA meets this challenge, on all versions of the theory we are aware of, is by restricting exceptional evacuation movements to focused constituents; that is, all evacuation movements are instances of (potentially exceptional) focus fronting (see, e.g., Boone 2014, Ortega-Santos, Yoshida, and Nakao 2014, Weir 2014, Yoshida, Nakao, and Ortega-Santos 2015).2 In the absence of such a restriction, the MDA would radically overpredict the range of felicitous remnants as including Given material.

2 Particle Remnants in Clausal Ellipsis

Continuing the line of criticism adumbrated in the preceding section, we now discuss a set of simple data points involving German modal particles (MPs) that are squarely inconsistent with the MDA’s central empirical predictions. These data pose a qualitatively different challenge for the MDA than the problems pointed out above. Beyond merely requiring exceptional movements of categories that do not move in nonelliptical contexts, the data to be presented show that MPs can survive clausal ellipsis despite being neither movable nor focusable. Furthermore, we show that the distribution of MPs relative to focal remnants under ellipsis precisely tracks their distribution in nonelliptical contexts on the assumption that focal remnants can remain in situ, in sharp contradistinction to the MDA’s central tenet.

The following sentences illustrate a small sample of MPs in German (rendered in underlined italics here and throughout):3

(7)

  • a.

    Peter hat wohl / ja ein paar Leute eingeladen.

    Peter has MPMP a few people invited

    ‘{Probably/As you know}, Peter invited a couple of people.’

  • b.

    Wer hat denn die Leute eingeladen?

    who has MP the people invited

    ‘Who invited the people?’

MPs convey information related to the speaker’s attitude or commitment toward the proposition expressed. Like sentential adverbs, they are not part of the propositional content of their host sentences; rather, they are modifiers at the illocutionary level (Zimmermann 2011, Struckmeier 2014, Grosz to appear). Importantly, MPs cannot receive a focal interpretation in any context.

(8)

  • A:

    How likely is it for Peter to invite Bob?

  • B:

    *Wohl.

    Intended: ‘It is probable that Peter will invite Bob.’ (cf. (7a))

MPs are generally unaccented and occupy fixed positions in the middle field, above vP-level adverbials and negation but below TP. Unlike virtually any other category in German, MPs are rigidly immobile. For instance, as (9a) (based on (7a)) and (9b) show, they can neither move to the prefield nor extrapose.

(9)

  • a.

    *Wohl / Ja hat Peter t ein paar Leute eingeladen.

    MPMP has Peter a few people invited

  • b.

    *Peter hat t ein paar Leute eingeladen wohl / ja.

This immobility follows if MPs are adjoined heads rather than phrasal elements, as indicated by the fact that they cannot be expanded into “visibly” complex phrases by the addition of complements or modifiers (Bayer and Obenauer 2011, Struckmeier 2014).4

Most importantly for purposes of this squib, MPs can occur as unaccented secondary remnants in clausal ellipsis.5 (10) illustrates this for a sluiced question, where denn follows the surviving wh-phrase (the primary remnant), whereas the reverse order is not permitted.

(10)

  • A:

    Peter invited a couple of people.

  • B:

    WEN denn?

    who MP

  • B′:

    *Denn WEN?

    ‘Who?’

By contrast, MPs and primary non-wh remnants can occur in either linear order.6

(11)

  • A:

    Who did Peter invite?

  • B:

    Seine FREUNDE wohl.

    his friends MP

  • B′:

    Wohl seine FREUNDE.

    ‘Probably his friends.’

Note that the remnants in the above examples are not separated by prosodic breaks, precluding an analysis in terms of multiple elliptical clauses. Such an analysis would also run afoul of the fact that MPs are not viable fragments on their own, as we saw in (8).

Furthermore, the primary XP remnant and the accompanying MP do not form a constituent. The two elements cannot occur together in the prefield of a verb-second clause, for instance.

(12)

  • a.

    *[WEN denn] hat er eingeladen?

    who MP has he invited

  • b.

    *[Seine FREUNDE wohl / Wohl seine FREUNDE]

    his friends MPMP his friends

    hat er eingeladen.

    has he invited

This shows that MPs surviving clausal ellipsis are individual remnants in their own right; they do not simply “tag along” with the primary remnant.7 Note also that MP remnants are always unaccented. In this property, MPs differ from other categories occurring as secondary remnants, such as those in (4)–(6): low adverbs and adverbials, such as gestern ‘yesterday’ and aus Berlin ‘from Berlin’, could not replace wohl in (12), since they need to be focused to escape deletion. Higher adverbs, on the other hand, pattern with MPs: for example, wohl could be replaced in (12) by wahrscheinlich ‘probably’ or anscheinend ‘presumably’, and so on. Like MPs, these sentential adverbs express speaker-oriented attitudes and commitments to a current utterance, and thus cannot be Given. Lower adverbs, on the other hand, contribute to the truth-conditional constitution of the proposition. We focus here on the case of MPs since, unlike sentential adverbs, they are syntactically immobile and hence particularly problematic for the MDA.

The facts in (10) and (11) thus constitute a serious challenge for the MDA: MPs are constituents that are rigidly positioned TP-internally, that cannot move under any circumstances or be focused, but that are capable of surviving deletion nonetheless. Furthermore, the MDA fails to account for the asymmetry between (10) and (11) with regard to the linear order of remnants. An MDA analysis would need to ensure that evacuation movement of wh-phrase and MP result in a fixed order in the first case, while permitting a free output order in the second. Given that a unified syntax of wh- and non-wh remnants under ellipsis is the central tenet of the MDA, the approach falls short of accounting for asymmetries of this kind.

By contrast, there is nothing puzzling about the facts in (10) and (11) on the assumption that these elliptical forms derive directly from independently generated predeletion forms.

(13)

  • a.

    WEN hat er denn eingeladen?

    who has he MP invited

  • b.

    *Denn WEN hat er eingeladen?

    ‘Who did he invite?’

(14)

  • a.

    Seine FREUNDE hat er wohl eingeladen.

    his friends has he MP invited

  • b.

    Er hat wohl seine FREUNDE eingeladen.

    ‘Probably he invited his friends.’

Unlike wh-phrases, focused NPs in German front optionally rather than obligatorily; consequently, (10) mirrors the fixed order of (13), whereas either order of MP and primary remnant is felicitous in (11), deriving from (14). No additional stipulations are required.

Remnants generally replicate middle-field-internal ordering restrictions. While word order in the German middle field is notoriously free, some categorical restrictions do exist. One such restriction requires MPs to linearly precede negation (15); this restriction is preserved under clausal ellipsis (16).

(15)

  • Peter hat die Lotterie {wohl nicht / *nicht wohl}

  • Peter has the lottery MP not not MP

  • gewonnen.

  • won

  • Peter probably didn’t win the lottery.’

(16)

  • A:

    What did Peter win?

  • B:

    Die LOTTERIE {wohl NICHT / *NICHT wohl}.

    the lottery MP not not MP

    ‘Probably not the lottery.’

Note that in (11B′) and (16B), a focal remnant linearly follows an MP remnant. If the MP is located in the middle field, the focal remnant must be in an even lower position. This suggests strongly that not only the MPs themselves, but also focal XPs can remain in nonperipheral positions under clausal ellipsis. As before, the MDA could be weakened so as to permit exceptional movement of the remnants in (16), but it would then require additional stipulations to impose order preservation in this case but not in cases such as (11).

Ordering restrictions are also observed among multiple MP remnants. For instance, the order ja wohl is natural, whereas the order ??wohl ja is highly marginal at best. The same contrast obtains under clausal ellipsis.

(17)

  • A:

    Do we have any idea who Peter invited?

  • B:

    Seine FREUNDE {ja (wahrscheinlich) wohl /

    his friends MP probably MP

    ??wohl (wahrscheinlich) ja}.

    MP probably MP

    ‘Probably his friends, as you know.’

Given that a sentence adverb can intervene between the two MPs, it is clear that ja and wohl do not form a single “super particle” but constitute separate remnants. This aggravates the order preservation problem: given the absence of grammatical markings such as agreement or case and corresponding featural distinctions that could distinguish multiple MP remnants on morphosyntactic grounds, it is not clear how an order-preserving restriction as required by the MDA could even be stated in any principled way.

Finally, consider the following complex cases, where MP remnants are linearly intertwined with focused constituents:

(18)

  • A:

    Peter invited all kinds of people.

  • B:

    WELCHE Leute denn vermutlich NICHT?

    which people MP presumably not

    ‘And who did he presumably not invite?’

  • B′:

    Seine FREUNDE anscheinend ja AUCH alle.

    his friends apparently MP also all

    ‘Apparently, as you know, he invited all his friends as well.’

Here, unaccented MPs and sentential adverbs surface sandwiched between focal remnants; in (18B′), the second focal remnant is in turn followed by a quantifier stranded by the fronted primary remnant. Examples of this kind are anathema to the MDA: each remnant would need to be exceptionally fronted individually, crucially in such a way that the resulting left-peripheral cascade faithfully replicated the original order of elements in the middle field. No such contortions are required on the assumption that the elliptical expressions are derived by deletion applying to independently generated surface forms, with no exceptional movements.

On such a view, the analysis of constructions such as those in (4)–(6) is correspondingly simplified: in multiple sluicing in English-type languages (4), the second wh-remnant is in situ, and so is the contrastively focused NP in the why-stripping construction (5). The phenomenon of swiping (6) reduces to stranding of an antecedentless preposition that is part of a discontinuous focus, similar to Q-float in (18B′) (see Kimura 2013 for an analysis along these lines).

(19) but I don’t know WHO he went to the movies [WITH t]

Unlike approaches such as Merchant’s (2002), this simplest view of swiping (foreshadowed in Ross 1969:265–266) explains its absence in non-P-stranding languages, where the predeletion form of (19) is not independently licensed in the first place. Needless to say, this suggestive note does not do full justice to the complexity of the phenomenon, whose detailed exploration is beyond the scope of this squib.

3 Theoretical Implications

The facts discussed in the preceding section falsify two constitutive predictions of the MDA, showing that remnants of clausal ellipsis need not be focused and can remain in situ. Recall that in MDA terms, focal status is a necessary precondition for remnant extraction, in order to prevent the evacuation of Given material from the ellipsis site.

We hasten to add that a revised MDA could, of course, handle the facts discussed in the preceding section. Such a revision could deny, for instance, that remnant evacuation is bona fide syntactic movement and assign it some special status. Weir (2014) pursues this idea and argues that evacuation movements are effected in the PF mapping, “driven entirely by the need to reconcile the instruction to elide TP with the instruction to stress anything that is focus-marked” (p. 186). Our data show that this revision does not hold up, given that MPs are neither focused nor stressed. One could, of course, stipulate that exceptional evacuation affects both foci and MPs (which would pattern with foci for unknown reasons); further stipulations would then be required to ensure that exceptional evacuation yield only those outputs that are independently generated in the nonelliptical case (see Boone 2014 for an attempt to constrain exceptional movements to this effect).

While a descriptively adequate MDA could be devised in this brute-force fashion, we concur with its chief proponents that the approach is explanatory only to the extent that “the postulated movement operations . . . bear the hallmarks of regular, non-elliptical A′-movement” (Van Craenenbroeck and Merchant 2013:721). Our facts show that this cannot generally be the case, even if “regular, non-elliptical A′-movement” is generously construed as including exceptional focus fronting. This generous construal is adopted by Weir (2014:175), who argues that any evacuation movement is permitted under ellipsis provided that the focal extractee is such that it can “be targeted by a phrasal-movement operation even in principle.”

Our facts show that not even this weak empirical criterion can be upheld, undermining the MDA in its most permissive form. In short, only an MDA that dissociates exceptional evacuation movement and bona fide syntactic movement completely could handle the facts introduced above, undermining the MDA’s central theoretical goal of deriving the range of possible fragments from independent constraints on regular Ā-movement.

In the light of this addition to the list of problems for the MDA (see the references in section 1), it seems to us that future research should be wary of adopting the approach.8 An alternative view is outlined by Chomsky and Lasnik (1993:564–565), who propose to view ellipsis as extreme phonological reduction, optionally silencing intonationally marked (deaccented) material (for related claims, see Rooth 1992, Tancredi 1992, Hartmann 2000, and Bruening 2015, among others; also Morgan 1973 and Hankamer 1979 for early analyses in this vein).9

While developing a full-fledged alternative in these terms is far beyond the scope of this squib, we would like to point out that the separation of remnants and material to be elided is straightforward even without the mediation of syntactic movement. The crucial factor distinguishing MPs (and sentential adverbs) from other categories is their semantic status: as noted in section 2, MPs do not enter into the calculation of truth-conditional meaning. What this suggests to us is that the domain of deletion in clausal ellipsis is not a single, designated syntactic constituent (e.g., TP); rather, it is a propositional domain, call it Δ, that is entailed by previous discourse and thus recoverable (see Klein 1993, Wilder 1997, Hartmann 2000, Krifka 2006), perhaps by virtue of matching the denotation of the current “question under discussion” (Reich 2007).10 In addition to discourse-new and contrastive constituents, this will exclude MPs from Δ, given that the latter, qua speaker-oriented illocutionary modifiers, are never entailed by context and hence necessarily not recoverable: MPs always express speaker attitudes toward the current utterance and thus cannot be Given in any context.11 If deletion, like deaccenting, applies to Δ, these categories are consequently also correctly predicted to be spared by clausal ellipsis. Returning to the cases discussed above, if clausal ellipsis is discursively licensed in this sense, it follows immediately that a secondary MP remnant obligatorily follows a sluiced wh-phrase, as illustrated in (20) for (10B), where Δ = ∃x.Peter invited x.

(20)

  • WENFhat Peter denn twh eingeladen?

  • → WENFhat Peterdenneingeladen?

Not being included in Δ, the MP remains unaffected by deletion. In (11), on the other hand, optional fronting of the focused NP yields two alternative orders, with deletion of Δ = ∃x.Peter invited x in both cases.

(21)

  • B:

    [Seine FREUNDE]Fhat Peter wohl tNPeingeladen.

    → deletion yields (11B)

  • B′:

    Peter hat wohl [seine FREUNDE]Feingeladen.

    → deletion yields (11B′)

The more complex cases in (18) are derived in exactly the same way (note that the floating quantifier in (22b) is part of a syntactically discontinuous focal constituent).

(22)

  • a.

    [WELCHE Leute]Fhat er denn vermutlich NICHTF

    which people has he MP presumably not

    eingeladen?

    invited

    ‘Which people did he presumably not invite?’

  • b.

    [Seine FREUNDE]Fhat er anscheinend ja AUCHF

    his friends has he apparently MP also

    [alle tNP]Feingeladen.

    all invited

    ‘Apparently, as you know, he invited all his friends as well.’

On this general conception, clausal ellipsis does not apply to a single syntactic constituent any more than deaccenting does. What unites and distinguishes the deleted material is not a single common syntactic mother node but the informational status of the relevant constituents: since only Given elements can be part of Δ and thus subject to deaccenting/deletion, MPs, which are never Given, necessarily remain unelided.12 Note that such an approach does not require the phonological component to be sensitive to informational status. Deletion applies freely, and the mechanisms of phonological reduction themselves are blind to conditions of use. However, the discourse-felicity of the derived fragment expressions is contingent on recoverability.

To be sure, these preliminary remarks are not nearly an actual theory of clausal ellipsis; their purpose here is merely to indicate that there is nothing inherently problematic about a view of clausal ellipsis as confined entirely to the PF component.

4 Conclusion

In this squib, we have shown that the distribution of MPs in clausal-ellipsis contexts constitutes a significant and qualitatively new challenge for the MDA, which restricts the range of possible remnants to mobile, focusable categories. Accommodating MP remnants while maintaining the MDA would require postulating exceptional evacuation movements extracting categorically immobile, nonfocal constituents from the middle field, and additional ad hoc assumptions to ensure the output’s faithfulness to the relative order of remnants found in independently generated nonelliptical forms. We submit that the facts indicate that the MDA’s insistence on movement feeding deletion is flawed and that a conception of ellipsis as confined to the phonological component is a viable option both theoretically and empirically.

Notes

1 We do not discuss nondeletion approaches here (e.g., Chung, Ladusaw, and McCloskey 1995, Lobeck 1995, Culicover and Jackendoff 2005), as we consider the evidence in favor of deletion to be decisive; see also footnote 5.

2Lasnik (2013) argues that the second wh-phrase in multiple sluicing undergoes extraposition rather than leftward movement. Unlike English, German permits oblique NPs in addition to PPs in this context; but since such NPs do not extrapose, Lasnik’s solution does not avoid the problem of exceptional movement.

3 We restrict our attention here to the MPs ja, wohl, and denn; for a fuller typology, see Thurmair 1989.

4 This restriction is not due to MPs’ lack of stress (or alternatives), given that unstressed (and noncontrastive) categories such as expletives can occur in the prefield.

5 Note that the fact that MPs can occur in elliptical expressions of this kind constitutes clear evidence for full-fledged sentential syntactic structure underlying these fragments.

6Van Craenenbroeck (2005) discusses instances of adverbial modification in sluicing. While he is not explicit about this, his cases, unlike the ones considered here, appear to involve focused adverbial remnants and are thus less germane to present concerns.

7Bayer and Obenauer (2011:471–472) provide examples of constructions in which MPs appear to be attached to wh-phrases (e.g., warum bloß ‘why MP’). These wh+MP combinations are not productive, however, and are downright unacceptable in most cases (such as those relevant here, as shown in (12)).

8 Recall that the conceptual motivation for the MDA derives in part from Merchant’s (2004) syntactic licensing theory in terms of an E-feature: English permits sluicing in wh-questions but not in relative clauses because it has a feature ES but lacks EREL; English but not German permits VP-ellipsis because English but not German has an EV-feature; and so on (Aelbrecht 2010:96, Merchant 2013). In our view, a list of lexical stipulations of this kind does not amount to an insightful theory of licensing; the E-feature is ultimately a retreat to a constructionist view of elliptical phenomena (see Thoms 2011). Furthermore, E must be optionally assigned in the course of the derivation, in violation of the Inclusiveness Condition (Chomsky 1995). Finally, as Merchant (2001) concedes, an empirical prediction of the approach is not borne out: the putative bearers of E—for example, C-heads in sluicing—do not generally survive deletion (I saw someone. –Who (*did)?; but see Rodrigues, Nevins, and Vicente 2009). In view of these problems, it seems to us that the feature-based licensing theory does not provide sufficient reason to maintain the MDA.

9 As Chomsky and Lasnik (1993) acknowledge, some elliptical forms require additional surface adjustments—for example, a negative fragment such as Not Bill (anyway) in response to Who left?, which cannot derive directly from *Not Bill left. Such cases are problematic for all approaches.

10 This corresponds roughly to Jackendoff’s (1972),presuppositional skeleton. Importantly, our data show that Δ cannot simply be defined as the complement of focus, as this would falsely include MPs (and sentential adverbs). The traditional view according to which “only the focused part of a sentence is pronounced [in elliptical constructions]” (Féry and Krifka 2008:129) or, equivalently, ellipsis is equated with “deletion up to F-marking” (Reich 2007:473), fails to take into account extrapropositional categories such as MPs, which are altogether separate from the focus/background dichotomy.

11 The inability of MPs to be Given is brought out by the fact that an MP must appear overtly in a fragment expression in order to be interpreted even if it has been mentioned verbatim in the immediate, salient context. The following dialogue illustrates:

  • (i)
    • A:

      Wen hat Peter wohl eingeladen?

      who has Peter MP invited

      ‘Who did Peter invite?’

    • B:

      ANNE #(wohl). Aber sicher bin ich mir nicht.

      Anne MP but certain am I REFL not

      ‘Probably Anne. But I’m not certain.’

  • The uncertainty on B’s part denoted by wohl is not conveyed unless the MP is overtly included in the fragment utterance, which is consequently required for pragmatic coherence with the indicated continuation. This shows that wohl is not recoverable from (iA), hence not Given. Conversely, prior mention of an MP does not license its deletion, as the following dialogue shows:

  • (ii)
    • A:

      Peter hat ja jemanden geschlagen.

      Peter has MP someone beaten

      ‘Peter beat someone yesterday, as you know.’

    • B:

      WEN (#ja)?

      who MP

    • B′:

      WEN hat Peter (#ja) geschlagen?

      who has Peter MP beaten

  • The MP ja is pragmatically incompatible with interrogative clause type, as (iiB′) illustrates. As the felicity of the MP-less wh-fragment indicates, it is not part of the structure of (iiB) unless it is overtly pronounced, even though deletion applies under identity with (iiA).

12 Potts et al. (2009) show that expressives such as damn well in He has damn well invited his friends! are extrapropositional and speaker-oriented in a way similar to MPs, as evidenced by their irrelevance to parallelism conditions. As a reviewer points out, however, it appears that expressives of this kind cannot survive clausal ellipsis in the way MPs can, at least not generally.

  • (i)
    • A:

      Who has Peter invited?

    • B:

      He has (#damn well) invited [his FRIENDS]F!

It is possible that specific characteristics of expressives (such as their compositionally determined scope, which MPs lack) can ultimately explain asymmetries of this kind. Since we cannot attempt an extensive investigation into the behavior of expressives under ellipsis within the confines of this squib, we have to leave the reviewer’s observation as an interesting puzzle for future research.

Acknowledgments

For valuable feedback and discussion, we are indebted to James Griffiths, Jason Merchant, Carla Umbach, audiences at PLC 39 (Philadelphia), WCCFL 33 (Vancouver), GGS 41 (Wuppertal), CGG 25 (Bayonne), the 50th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (Zurich), the 2017 meeting of the Association canadienne de linguistique/Canadian Linguistics Association (Toronto), the workshop “Ellipsis Licensing beyond Syntax” (Leiden, 2016), and the Linguistischer Arbeitskreis at the University of Cologne, as well as two anonymous LI reviewers and the LI Squibs and Discussion editors.

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