An intervention account of the distribution of main clause phenomena: Evidence from ellipsis


  • J.-­Marc Authier The Pennsylvania State University
  • Liliane Haegeman Ghent University


main clause phenomena, VP ellipsis, VP fronting, repair by ellipsis, truncation, left periphery, intervention, adverbial clauses


Based on an examination of some asymmetries between VP ellipsis and VP fronting, this paper argues for an intervention approach and against a truncation approach to the distribution of main clause phenomena in adverbial clauses and, by extension, in non-root contexts in general. Adopting Authier’s (2011) treatment of VP ellipsis whereby the to-be-elided VP undergoes fronting in the computational component but fails to be spelled out at PF, these asymmetries follow from the fact that a fronted VP, being an intervener for wh-movement in adverbial clauses, triggers a PF crash unless ellipsis allows the derivation to converge via Bošković's (2011) ‘rescue by PF deletion’ mechanism. This proposal entails that adverbial clauses are derived by wh-movement (Haegeman (2006) among others) and that the landing site for VP fronting is available in a non-root environment, two assumptions that militate against a truncation account of non-root clauses.


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How to Cite

Authier, J.- ­Marc, & Haegeman, L. (2014). An intervention account of the distribution of main clause phenomena: Evidence from ellipsis. IBERIA: An International Journal of Theoretical Linguistics, 4(1), 61–91. Retrieved from