11 Wh- movement in English

In this chapter, we introduce a type of movement that differs from the ones discussed so far (subject movement, subject raising, passive). First, it affects not just DPs, but maximal projections of many syntactic categories. Second, the landing site for the moved constituent is outside of IP. Because this type of movement is involved in the derivation of wh- questions, it is known as wh- movement.

In this chapter, we present the evidence for a wh- movement analysis of questions. We then describe two constraints on wh- movement that have given rise to much discussion in the field: the island constraints (Ross 1967) and the Comp-trace effect (Perlmutter 1971). In this chapter, we focus on a description of the constraints, postponing attempts at analysis until a later chapter. In the final section of the chapter, we extend a wh- movement analysis to the various types of relative clauses found in English.

A movement analysis of questions


As the presence of the complementizer if in the indirect question in (1) shows, the verb wonder takes a CP complement.

(1)     They wonder if the lions will devour the wildebeest.

The elementary trees for wonder and if are given in (2a,b), and the entire tree for (1) is given in (2c).

(2) a.      b.      c.  

Now consider the indirect question in (3), which begins with a wh- phrase (a maximal projection) rather than with a complementizer (a head).

(3)     They wonder which wildebeest the lions will devour.

Let's adopt the null hypothesis that wonder is associated with the same elementary tree in (3) as in (1) - namely, with (2a). Since (3) contains no overt complementizer, the CP tree that substitutes into the complement node of the elementary tree for wonder must then be the projection of a silent complementizer. For reasons to be given shortly, we take this complementizer to be a silent counterpart of that. In deriving the tree for (3), a further difficulty remains concerning the wh- phrase which wildebeest. On the one hand, the wh- phrase must be the object of devour, just as in (1), because devour is obligatorily transitive. But on the other hand, the wh- phrase precedes the subject of the subordinate clause rather than following the verb. As usual when we are confronted with a mismatch of this sort, we invoke movement in order to allow a single phrase to simultaneously play several roles in a sentence. Specifically, we will have the wh- phrase originate as the sister of the verb whose object it is and then move to Spec(CP). This allows us to accommodate the word order in (3), while maintaining that devour is a transitive verb regardless of what clause type (declarative or interrogative) it happens to occur in. The resulting structure for (3) is shown in (4).


The argument just presented is based on the obligatorily transitive character of devour, but it can be extended straightforwardly to other syntactic relations - for instance, modification. Recall that the way that we have chosen to represent the modification relation is to adjoin the modifier at the intermediate projection of the modifiee. In (5a), the adverb phrase unbelievably quickly modifies the verb devour, and so it adjoins at V'. In (5b), the corresponding wh- phrase how quickly also modifies devour, so it needs to adjoin to V' as well, but it precedes the subject. Again, the mismatch between the position where the phrase is interpreted and where it is pronounced can be resolved by moving the modifier, as shown in (6).

(5) a.   The lions will devour the wildebeest unbelievably quickly.
b. They wonder how quickly the lions will devour the wildebeest.

Why a silent complementizer?

Let's turn now to the question of why we treat the complementizer in (4) and in (6) as as a silent counterpart of that. There are several reasons. First, Middle English (1150–1500) routinely allowed (though it did not require) overt that as the syntactic head of indirect wh- questions. The examples in (7) are from the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English. (7c,d) show that that alternated with its silent counterpart even in the usage of individual authors (here, Chaucer).

(7) a.   he wiste wel hymself what that he wolde answere (cmctmeli.m3, 219.C1.75)
'he himself knew well what he would answer'
b. for ye han ful ofte assayed … how wel that I kan hyde and hele thynges (cmctmeli.m3,221.C1.149)
'for you have very often determined how well I can hide and conceal things'
c. I wolde fayn knowe how that ye understonde thilke wordes and what is youre sentence (cmctmeli.m3,227.C2.408)
'I would like to know how you understand these same words'
d. And forther over, it is necessarie to understonde whennes that synnes spryngen, and how they encreessen (cmctpars.m3, 296.C1b.354)
'And moreover, it is necessary to understand where sins come from, and how they increase'
e. Now shal ye understonde in what manere that synne wexeth or encreesseth in man. (cmctpars.m3, 297.C2.392)
'Now you shall understand in what manner sin grows or increases in man.'
f. The fifthe circumstaunce is how manye tymes that he hath synned … and how ofte that he hath falle. (cmctpars.m3, 323.C1.1501)
'The fifth circumstance is how many times he has sinned … and how often he has fallen.'

Second, contemporary Belfast English resembles Middle English in this respect (Henry 1995:107) (this is the same variety that you were introduced to in Exercise 1.2).

(8) a.   I wonder which dish that they picked.
b.   They didn't know which model that we had discussed.

Third, wh- phrases followed by that continue to be attested in the unplanned usage of speakers of modern standard English (Radford 1988:500). A few of the examples that we have collected over the years are shown in (9); the entire collection is here.

(9) a.   I realized how interesting that it was.
(Clara Orsitti, interviewed by Vicky Barker, World Update, National Public Radio, 25 January 1999)
b.   Most of my colleagues were amazed how quickly that I recovered.
(advertisement for Temple University Hospital, WRTI, 24 November 1999)
c.   It could be that that is why that they were understood. (high-low-high intonation on why)
(Joanna Labov, doctoral dissertation defense, Philadelphia, PA, 4 May 2000)
d.   "These recounts will determine how much of a pick-up that we will have," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew.

Finally, sequences of wh- phrase + overt complementizer in indirect questions occur in languages other than English. The complementizer in question is generally the counterpart of that, but the counterpart of if is attested as well.

(10) Bavarian (Bayer 1983-4:212, (8a-d))
I woass ned wer dass des  toa  hod.
I know  not who that that done has
'I don't know who did that.'
... wos  dass ma toa soin.
    what that we do  should
'... what we should do.'
... wann dass da  Xaver kumt
    when that the       comes
'... when Xaver is coming.'
... wiavui   dass a  kriagt.
    how much that he gets
'... how much he gets.'
(11) Dutch (den Besten 1989:23, (21b))
... welk  boek (of) hij wil   lezen
    which book  if  he  wants read
'... which book he wants to read'

Case checking

A further argument for wh- movement, similar to the one based on complementation, can be constructed on the basis of case theory. Consider the contrast in (12), which reflects the fact that the finite I in the complement clause checks nominative, not objective case.

(12) a.   She thinks he will come.
b. * She thinks him will come.

Now consider the contrast in (13), where the nominative form who is grammatical in standard English, but the objective form whom is not.

(13) a.   I wonder who she thinks will come.
b. * I wonder whom she thinks will come.

How is case checked on the nominative form who in (13a)? We would like to maintain the generalization that nominative case is checked in a spec-head configuration with finite I. This rules out the both of the closest I nodes. As shown in (14), who is not in the required spec-head configuration with either of them; rather, these nodes check nominative case with they and she.

(14)     They [pres] wonder [CP whoi [IP she [pres] thinks [CP [IP will come ] ] ] ] .

The solution to this case-checking puzzle is once again to invoke movement. As shown in (15), nominative case on who can be checked by will before who moves to the Spec(CP) of the intermediate clause. In this way, every nominative noun phrase in the sentence is checked in the right configuration, and a one-to-one relation is maintained between case features and case licensers.

(15)     They [pres] wonder [CP whoi [IP she [pres] thinks [CP [IP ti will come ] ] ] ] .

The reason that (13b) is ungrammatical is that objective case cannot be checked in the subject position of the lowest clause. Under a movement analysis, then, the contrast in (13) is parallel to that in (12) - a simple and intuitively appealing result.

The facts just discussed illustrate an important difference between wh- movement on the one hand and subject raising and passive on the other. In subject raising and passive, the noun phrase undergoing movement originates in a non-case-checking position and moves to a subject position, motivated either by considerations of case-checking or by the subject requirement. By contrast, a noun phrase undergoing wh- movement moves from a case-checking position to Spec(CP), a non-case-checking position.

A related difference concerns the categorial status of constituents undergoing wh- movement. Constituents undergoing subject movement or passive are noun phrases, but ones undergoing wh- movement can be maximal projections of other categories, as we have already seen. (16) provides three further examples.

(16) a.   I wonder [AdjP how experienced ] they should be.
b. I wonder [AdvP how quickly ] the lions will devour the wildebeest.
c. I wonder [PP under which shell ] he hid the pea.

Direct wh- questions

Having argued that wh- phrases move to Spec(CP) in indirect questions, we assume for uniformity that direct questions like those in (17) are derived by wh- movement as well.

(17) a.   [AdjP How experienced ] should they be?
b. [AdvP How quickly ] will the lions devour the wildebeest?
c. [PP Under which shell ] did he hide the pea?
d. [DP Which wildebeest ] will the lions devour?

As is evident from comparing the direct questions in (17) with their indirect question counterparts, movement of the wh- phrase to Spec(CP) in direct questions is accompanied by a second instance of movement. In particular, whatever occupies I moves to C, with the additional proviso that if I is occupied by a silent tense morpheme, as it is in (16c), it is replaced by the corresponding form of do, as in (17c). We postpone more detailed discussion of head movement to C to a later chapter. For the moment, we will simply assume that direct questions are projections of a silent morpheme that occupies C and that expresses interrogative force, represented in what follows by [?]. The structure that we assume for direct questions is illustrated for (17d) in (18). As usual with head movement (recall the case of verb movement from V to I discussed in Chapter 6), head movement to C involves both movement and adjunction.


Constraints on wh- movement

The island constraints

Apparent unboundedness of wh- movement. Given that wh- phrases in direct and indirect questions occupy their surface position as a result of movement, the question arises of how far a wh- phrase can move from the position where it is interpreted. Examples like (19) suggest that the distance is in principle (that is, apart from performance considerations such as limitations on memory) unlimited, or unbounded. Examples like (19b-e), where a wh- phrase moves out of the CP where it originates, are called long-distance wh- movement (also known as long movement or nonlocal movement).

(19) a.   [CP Whati was he reading ti ] ?
b. [CP Whati did he say
[CP that he was reading ti ] ] ?
c. [CP Whati does she believe
[CP that he said
[CP that he was reading ti ] ] ] ?
d. [CP Whati are they claiming
[CP that she believes
[CP that he said
[CP that he was reading ti ] ] ] ] ?
e. [CP Whati do you think
[CP that they are claiming
[CP that she believes
[CP that he said
[CP that he was reading ti ] ] ] ] ] ?

A typology of islands. However, contrary to what the pattern in (19) suggests, Ross 1967 argued that wh- movement is not in fact unbounded. For instance, although wh- movement out of that clause complements to verbs is completely acceptable, as shown in (19b-e), wh- movement out of that clause complements to nouns is not, as shown in (20) and (21). For clarity, the heads associated with the complement clauses are underlined in the next few examples.

Noun complement:
(20) a.   He made the claim [ that he has met Subcomandante Marcos ] .
b. * [ Who ]i did he make the claim [ that he has met ti ] ?
(21) a.   He mentioned the fact [ that he had run into Julia Roberts ] .
b. * [ Which celebrity ]i did he mention the fact [ that he had run into ti ] ?

Particularly striking is the contrast between (20b) and (21b) on the one hand and the essentially synonymous examples in (22) on the other.

(22) a. [ Who ]i did he claim [ that he has met ti ] ?
b. [ Which celebrity ]i did he mention [ that he had run into ti ] ?

Ross introduced the term island to refer to constructions that do not allow a wh- phrase to 'escape' from them (that is, metaphorically speaking, the wh- phrase is marooned on the island). Besides complement clauses to nouns, Ross identified several other types of islands:

In the remainder of this section, we illustrate each of these types of island in turn. Our aim for the moment is purely descriptive. In other words, the internal structure of the islands is not our primary focus, and we postpone the obvious question of why islands have the effect on wh- movement that they have until a later chapter. For clarity, the islands are indicated by underlining.

(23) illustrates the island character of indirect questions.

Indirect question:
(23) a.   They have forgotten which problem they should solve by Fourier analysis.
b. * Howi have they forgotten which problem they should solve ti?

Be sure to interpret How in (23b) as modifying the complement verb solve, as indicated by the trace, not the matrix verb forgotten. In other words, a possible answer to (23b) is by Fourier analysis, but not by succumbing to Alzheimer's.

In (23b), it is important to distinguish the two instances of wh- movement: that of which problem and that of how. Which problem moves from its original position as complement of solve to the Spec(CP) of the complement clause. It is this movement - grammatical on its own - that creates an island for any further wh- movement, preventing how from moving "off island" to the Spec(CP) of the matrix clause. In other words, wh- movement is grammatical within the confines of an island, but not beyond its boundaries.2

(24) and (25) illustrate the island character of relative clauses and sentential subjects.

Relative clause:
(24) a.   They met someone who knows Julia Roberts.
b. * [ Which celebrity ]i did they meet someone who knows ti?
Sentential subject:
(25) a.   That he has met Subcomandante Marcos is extremely unlikely.
b. * Whoi is that he has met ti extremely unlikely?

Finally, (26) and (27) illustrate the island character of possessive noun phrases and of coordinate structures. The ungrammaticality of these questions is particularly striking because they are so much shorter than the grammatical questions in (19b-e).

Possessive noun phrase:
(26) a.   She bought Jonathan's book.
b. * [ Whose ]i did she buy ti book?
Coordinate structure:
(27) a.   They ordered tiramisu and espresso .
b. i. * [ Which dessert ]i did they order ti and espresso?
ii. * [ Which beverage ]i did they order tiramisu and ti?

The Comp-trace effect

Another constraint on wh- movement is the so-called Comp-trace effect. Notice first that long-distance wh- movement of complements and adjuncts is unaffected by whether the complement clause is headed by an overt complementizer or a silent one (indicated in the following examples by ø).

(28) a.   [ Which friends ]i did they say { that, ø } they saw ti ?
b.   [ Which way ]i did they say { that, ø } they would fix the leaky faucet ti ?

By contrast, long-distance movement of subjects is possible only with a silent complementizer. The presence of an overt complementizer immediately preceding the trace of wh- movement is ungrammatical; hence the name of the effect.

(29) a.   [ Which friends ]i did they say ø ti saw them?
b. * [ Which friends ]i did they say that ti saw them?

There is some variation among English speakers with regard to the status of (29b) (Sobin 1987). But even speakers who judge (29b) to be acceptable report a Comp-trace effect in connection with movement out of indirect questions. As we have just seen, indirect questions are islands, and so long wh- movement is not completely acceptable to begin with. However, it has been observed that indirect questions introduced by whether or if tend to give rise to relatively weak island effects; in the examples in (30), this weak effect is indicated by ?*.

(30) a. ?* [ Which friends ]i did they worry whether they snubbed ti ?
b. ?* [ Which way ]i did they wonder if they could fix the leaky faucet ti ?

Analogous long subject movement is illustrated in (31), which is worse than (29b) and (30) for all speakers and thus provides evidence for the existence of a Comp-trace effect even for those speakers who accept (29b).

(31)   * [ Which friends ]i did they worry whether ti snubbed them?

Relative clauses as instances of wh- movement

Wh- relative clauses

As (32) and (33) show, there is a striking parallel in English between questions and wh- relative clauses: both are introduced by wh- phrases.

(32) a.   Who moved in next door? (33) a.   the people who moved in next door
b. Who(m) did you see? b.   the people who(m) you saw
c. Where did you meet them? c.   the place where you met them
d. Which do you prefer? d.   the movie which you prefer
e. Whose parents did you meet? e.   the girl whose parents you met

This parallel suggests a wh- movement analysis for relative clauses - an idea that is reinforced by the fact that wh- relative clauses exhibit the entire range of island effects, as illustrated in (34). As before, the relevant islands are underlined.

In (34c), be careful to distinguish the two instances of wh- movement: the lower one within the interviewed clause, which is grammatical and creates the relative clause island, and the higher one within the dislike clause, which is the one that causes the ungrammaticality.

(34) a. Noun complement: * the revolutionary whoi I don't believe the claim that he has met ti
b. Indirect question: * the method [ by which ]i they have forgotten which problem they should solve ti
c. Relative clause: * the revolutionary whoi I dislike the journalist who interviewed ti for CNN
d. Sentential subject: * the addiction whichi that he admitted ti nearly destroyed his career
e. Possessive noun phrase: * the girl whosei you met ti parents
f. Coordinate structure: * the dessert whichi you ordered espresso and ti
* the dessert whichi you ordered ti and espresso

Relative clauses also exhibit the Comp-trace effect. The examples in (35)-(38) are parallel to those in (28)-(31).

(35) a.   the friends who(m)i they said { that, ø } they saw ti
b.   the way whichi they said { that, ø } they would fix the leaky faucet ti
(36) a.   the friends whoi they said ø ti saw them
b. * the friends whoi they said that ti saw them
(37) a. ?* the friends who(m)i they worried whether they snubbed ti
b. ?* the way whichi they wondered if they could fix the leaky faucet ti
(38)   * the friends whoi they worried whether ti snubbed them

The facts just reviewed follow straightforwardly if we assume that wh- relative clauses are structurally parallel to questions. The wh- relative pronoun moves to Spec(CP), and the syntactic head of the clause is a silent complementizer, just as in an indirect question. The structure of the relative clause in (33b) is given in (39a), and adjoining the relative clause so that it modifies the noun people yields the structure in (39b).

(39) a.       b.  

That relative clauses

In addition to wh- relative clauses, English also has that relative clauses, as illustrated in (40).

(40) a.   the people that moved in next door
b.   the people that you saw
c.   the place that you met them
d.   the movie that you prefer

Structurally, that relative clauses are completely parallel to wh- relative clauses. But in contrast to wh- relative clauses, it is the complementizer that is overt in that relative clauses, and the wh- phrase that is silent.3 The structures corresponding to those in (39) are given in (41).

(41) a.       b.  

The alert reader will have noticed that that relative clauses with a gap in subject position do not exhibit the Comp-trace effect. Thus, the local wh- movement in (40a), with the structure in (42a), contrasts with the nonlocal wh- movement in (42b). In both cases, the gray font indicates the silent wh- phrase.

(42) a.   the people [CP whoi that ti moved in next door ]
b. * the people [CP whoi that I think [CP that ti moved in next door ] ]

This contrast between local and nonlocal movement has given rise to many attempts at explanation, some of which we will review in a later chapter, but none that we know of is entirely satisfactory.

Doubly marked relative clauses

Given the discussion so far, we would expect to find relative clauses with an overt wh- element in Spec(CP) combined with an overt complementizer, as in (43).

(43)     the people who(m) that you saw

Such doubly marked relative clauses are judged to be unacceptable in modern standard English. However, just like doubly marked indirect questions, they are attested in Middle English and in vernacular varieties of other languages, as shown in (44) (from the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English) and (45).

(44) a.   thy freend which that thou has lorn (cmctmeli.m3, 218.C1.31)
'your friend that you have lost'
b. the conseil which that was yeven to yow by the men of lawe and the wise folk (cmctmeli.m3, 226.C2.373)
'the counsel that was given to you by the men of law and the wise folk'
c. the seconde condicion which that the same Tullius addeth in this matiere (cmctmeli.m3, 228.C1.429)
'the second condition that the same Tullius adds in this matter'
d. for hire olde freendes which that were trewe and wyse (cmctmeli.m3, 237.C2.799)
'for her old friends who were loyal and wise'
e. the fire of angre and of wratthe, which that he sholde quenche (cmctpars.m3, 308.C2.859)
'the fire of anger and wrath, which he should quench'

Bavarian (Bayer 1983-4:213, (10a,b))
(45) a.  
der Hund der wo   gestern   d'  Katz bissn  hod
the dog  who that yesterday the cat  bitten has
'the dog that bit the cat yesterday'
die Frau  dera    wo   da Xaver a Bussl g'gem hod
the woman who.dat that the      a kiss  given has
'the woman that Xaver gave a kiss'

What these facts suggest is that doubly marked wh- movement constructions (both relative clauses and indirect questions) are grammatical (= well-formed from a purely structural point of view). However, it may be that the movement of the wh- phrase and the overt complementizer are both taken as markers of clausal subordination, and perhaps a stylistic constraint has developed against redundant marking that keeps these constructions from occurring in the modern literary varieties of English and other languages.4

Zero relative clauses

Given the availability of silent wh- elements and silent complementizers in English, we would expect to find relative clauses that are not introduced by any overt element at all. Such zero relative clauses (also known as contact relative clauses) are indeed possible in English, as shown in (46).

(46) a.   the people ___ you saw
b.   the place ___ you met them
c.   the movie ___ you prefer

Given the grammaticality of (46), the status of the zero relative variants of subject relative clauses like (33a) and (38a), repeated in (47a,b), is puzzling. In general, these are unacceptable, as shown in (47c).

(47) a. the people who moved in next door (are from Illinois)
b. the people that moved in next door (are from Illinois)
c. * the people ___ moved in next door (are from Illinois)

However, structurally analogous examples are attested in English, as illustrated in (48).

(48) a.   Everybody ___ lives in the mountains has an accent all to theirself. (Christian and Wolfram 1976, front matter)
b.   Three times a day some nurse ___ looks like Pancho Villa shoots sheep cum into my belly. (Hiaasen 1995: 248-249)

(49)-(52) give further examples from several varieties of English, classified by linguistic environment.

(49) Existential there clause:
a.   There's a shortcut ___ takes you to the shops. (Henry 1995:125)
b. "Thanks for the hurricane, there's a hundred fifty thousand houses in Dade County ___ need new roofs," he began. (Hiaasen 1995:110-111)
c. ... it might be worthwhile to mention that there's a train ___ leaves Pangbourne, I know, soon after five ... (Jerome 1889:207)
(50) It cleft:
a. It was John ___ told us about it. (Henry 1995:125)
b. 'Tis grace ___ hath brought me safe thus far (Amazing grace)
c. It was the quickness of the hand ___ deceived the eye. (Jerome 1889:221)
(51) Copular construction:
a. John is the person ___ could help you with that. (Henry 1995:125)
b. You're the second guy this month ___ wants to take out trade in this bizarre fashion. (Wagner 1986:119)
c. He's the one ___ inspected the damn things. (Hiaasen 1995:5)
(52) Introduction of discourse entity in object position:
a. I met a man ___ can speak five languages. (Henry 1995:125)
b. how come we have … a pink-haired punk granddaughter ___ got the manners of a terrorist? … Wears somethin' ___ makes the garage door flap up? (Wagner 1986:81)

The proper analysis of zero subject relative clauses is not entirely clear and goes beyond the scope of this textbook. On the one hand, it has been argued that such relative clauses are grammatical, but avoided for processing reasons (Bever and Langendoen 1971, especially Section 5; see also Doherty 1993). The idea is that zero subject relative clauses are liable to be misinterpreted as the predicate of the matrix clause, at least when they modify subjects, as they do in (48).5 On the other hand, Henry 1995 argues that zero subject relative clauses are not true relative clauses.


1. Ross 1967 treated relative clauses together with noun complement clauses, subsuming the noun phrases containing them under the rubric of complex noun phrases. Given our emphasis on the complement-adjunct distinction, we prefer to distinguish the two types of island.

2. In more precise structural terms (discussed in more detail in a later chapter), an island is a constituent dominated by some node. In (23), the node in question is the CP dominating the indirect question, but for generality, let's refer to the relevant node as the island node. Wh- movement is grammatical as long as the moved wh- phrase (the head of the movement chain) is dominated by the island node, but becomes ungrammatical once that is no longer the case.

3. For some speakers, relative clause that has developed from a complementizer into a relative pronoun. Such speakers produce a possessive form of that that is analogous to whose, as illustrated in (i).

(i)     "... we want them to bring a product to market that's time had not yet come," said Ray Farhung, a Southern California Edison official.
(Bill Vlasic, "Cool Contest", The Detroit News, p. 1D, January 10, 1993; from a Linguist List posting by John Lawler)

4. It is clear that stylistic constraints of the sort that we postulate exist. For instance, stylistically "higher" contexts favor the presence of an overt complementizer in contexts where the grammar does not require one (Kroch and Small 1978).

(i)     I think (that) they are coming.

The modern literary language apparently favors marking of subordinate clauses that is explicit yet non-redundant.

5. In the sentence-processing literature, constructions that invite misparsing are known as garden-path constructions. A classic example, involving a so-called reduced relative clause, is (i.a). The corresponding zero subject relative clause, shown in (i.b.), would include a form of the passive auxiliary be.

(i) a.   The horse raced past the barn fell.
b.   The horse was raced past the barn fell.

Exercises and problems

Exercise 11.1

You do not need to indicate the internal structure of your friend.

A. Using the xbar ch11 grammar tool, build structures for both of the direct questions in (1).

(1) a. Pied piping In which house does your friend live?
b. Preposition stranding Which house does your friend live in?

B. Using the xbar ch11 grammar tool, build structures for the complex sentences in (2).

(2) a. Pied piping I forget [ in which house your friend lives. ]
b. Preposition stranding I forget [ which house your friend lives in. ]

Exercise 11.2

You do not need to indicate the internal structure of your friend.

A. Using the xbar ch11 grammar tool, build structures for the noun phrases in (1).

(1) a. Pied piping   the house [ in which your friend lives ]
b. Preposition stranding   the house [ which your friend lives in ]

B. Using the same grammar tool as in (A), build structures for the noun phrases in (2)-(5).

Build structures for all examples, including the ungrammatical ones.

Feel free to build a single structure for several structurally parallel examples. Indicate clearly which sentences each structure is intended to represent, and how the variants differ.

Treat whose as the conventional orthographic representation of who + 's.

In (3), the position of silent elements is indicated by underlining. In the other examples, the position of silent elements is not explicitly indicated.

(2) a. Wh- relative clause ok the guy [ who they met ]
b. That relative clause ok the guy [ that they met ]
c. Zero relative clause ok the guy [ they met ]
(3) a. Wh- relative clause ok the guy [ whose parents ___ they met ]
b. That relative clause * the guy [ ___'s parents that they met ]
Intended meaning: (3a)
c. Zero relative clause * the guy [ ___'s parents ___ they met ]
Intended meaning: (3a)
(4) a. That relative clause, pied piping * the house [ in that your friend lives ]
Intended meaning: (1a)
b. That relative clause, preposition stranding ok the house [ that your friend lives in ]
(5) a. Zero relative clause, pied piping * the house [ in your friend lives ]
Intended meaning: (1a)
b. Zero relative clause, preposition stranding ok the house [ your friend lives in ]

C. Formulate a single structural generalization that accounts for the ungrammaticality of (3b,c), (4a), and (5a). The generalization is independent of the constraints introduced in the chapter.

Exercise 11.3

According to the analysis of relative clauses presented in this chapter, that relative clauses like the italicized sequence in (1) have the structure in (2a). However, since the wh- phrase is silent, an alternative analysis of (1) is possible in principle, according to which the wh- phrase remains in its original position, as shown in (2b). Provide evidence that the movement analysis in (2a) is preferable.

(1)     the people that you saw
(2) a.       b.  
Movement No movement

Exercise 11.4

Make up silent lexical items as needed for (1).

Free free to build tree fragments rather than full structures as long as you describe how they fit together.

For each of the following structurally ambiguous sentences, provide a paraphrase for each reading. Using the xbar ch11 grammar tool, build structures for each of the interpretations, indicating clearly which structure goes with which interpretation.

(1) a.   Reporter's telegram: How old Cary Grant?
b.   Cary Grant's reply: Old Cary Grant fine.
(Source: Pinker 1994:119)
(2)       Gibson plays a man who develops the ability to understand what women are thinking after a freak accident.
(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0207201/news?year=2000, accessed 18 March 2012)
(3)     I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office.
(Source: http://www.slate.com/id/76886/, accessed 8 April 2010)

Exercise 11.5

Using the
xbar ch11 grammar tool, build the structure for (1).

(1)     It's the kind of thing that people who like that kind of thing like.

Exercise 11.6

A. In addition to the finite indirect questions in (1), English also has nonfinite ones, as illustrated in (2). Using the
xbar ch11 grammar tool, build structures for all of the nonfinite indirect questions in (2), including the ungrammatical (2c).

(1) a. They know [ who they should invite. ]
b. They know [ which topic they should talk about. ]
c. They know [ who should speak. ]
(2) a. They know [ who to invite. ]
b. They know [ which topic to talk about. ]
c. * They know [ who to speak. ]
Intended meaning: (1c)

B. Why is (2c) ungrammatical?

Exercise 11.7

Using the xbar ch11 grammar tool, build the structure for the noun phrase containing the nonstandard relative clause in (1).

(1)     a product that's time has come

Problem 11.1

In addition to finite relative clauses, English also has nonfinite ones, as illustrated in (1)-(3).

Finite       Nonfinite
(1) a. a guy [ to fix the sink ] cf. % (I know) a guy [ can fix the sink ]
b. * a guy [ who to fix the sink ] cf. a guy [ who can fix the sink ]
(2) a. a guy [ for us to hire ]       cf. a guy [ that we can hire ]
b. * a guy [ us to hire ] cf. a guy [ we can hire ]
c. a guy [ to hire ]
(3) a. an office [ in which to work ] cf. an office [ in which they can work ]
b. * an office [ in ___ to work ] cf. * an office [ in ___ they can work ]
c. an office [ which to work in ] cf. an office [ which they can work in ]
d. an office [ ___ to work in ] cf. an office [ they can work in ]

On the basis of the above examples and others of your own devising, compare the syntax of nonfinite relative clauses with that of their finite counterparts. The following are examples of questions to consider:

Problem 11.2

Using the
x-bar ch11 grammar tool, build the structure for (1). (Feel free to build partial structures and indicate how they fit together.)

(1)     ... a job which ... I now recognized as being one I had up to now been incredibly fortunate to avoid being involved in.
(Eric Newby. 1994. A small place in Italy. Picador. 134.)