More Doubts on V-stranding VP-ellipsis: Reply to Simpson
Idan Landau
May 2022

Advocating a V-stranding VP ellipsis analysis for object gap sentences, Simpson (2022) argues that under negation the “adjunct reading” is missing because it depends on focal stress, which cannot be realized on unpronounced material. No such condition holds, I maintain, and the absence of the adjunct reading reflects a syntactic absence – Argument Ellipsis sites contain no VP adjuncts. The adjunct reading emerges in some languages when the antecedent sentence is negative too, an inexplicable contingency for the V-stranding VP ellipsis; in fact, these constructions involve Polarity Ellipsis (of TP), in which VP-adjuncts are included. However, this derivation is not available to all languages, explaining some crosslinguistic differences in adjunct readings under negation. Finally, an optional adjunct reading may emerge in affirmative object gap sentences due to pragmatic enrichment, a process sensitive to context in ways that go beyond the predictions of the syntactic analysis advocated in Simpson 2022.
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Reference: lingbuzz/006633
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in "Synax"
keywords: argument ellipsis, vp ellipsis, polarity ellipsis, pragmatic enrichment, syntax
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