We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE


A Study of Pronominal Agreement

Chris Collins and Paul M. Postal

Publication Year: 2012

A study of pronominal agreement with imposters, third person DPs (this reporter, yours truly, my lord, Madam) that denote the speaker or addressee.

Published by: The MIT Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (66.7 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (73.2 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (120.6 KB)
pp. vii-viii

For example, in (1a), the reflexives ourselves and themselves have the present authors as antecedent. Furthermore, the alternation is not accompanied by differences in truth conditions. In each case in (1), the two versions mean the same thing. ...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (101.2 KB)
pp. ix-x

Producing this book has been a long tortuous journey, fraught with detours, dangerous turns, suspicious hitchhikers, the adrenaline rush of traveling in a foreign country, and ultimately breathtaking vistas. It started three years ago when we stumbled across imposters while doing research on what we called the ass camouflage construction ...

read more

1. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (127.7 KB)
pp. 1-8

Normally, in order to refer to himself or herself, a speaker uses 1st person singular pronominal forms (in English, I, me, my, mine, myself). To refer to a (single) addressee, a speaker uses 2nd person singular pronominal forms (in English, you, your, yours, yourself). But this is not always the case. ...

read more

2. Notional versus Syntactic Views of Imposters

pdf iconDownload PDF (113.2 KB)
pp. 9-14

The data cited in chapter 1 could suggest that imposters are fairly regular instances of the category of 3rd person DPs, except for their meanings. This could naturally lead to viewing (1) as a minimal characterization of imposters. ...

read more

3. Imposters as Antecedents

pdf iconDownload PDF (134.2 KB)
pp. 15-24

As indicated in chapter 1, English singular imposters of all sorts invariably determine 3rd person verbal agreement (we discuss verbal agreement for plural and coordinated imposters in chapter 9), and most ( but, for example, not yours truly) have the superficial morphology of standard 3rd person DPs. ...

read more

4. Antecedence: Some Theoretical Considerations

pdf iconDownload PDF (202.6 KB)
pp. 25-46

While modern work informally uses the notion of antecedent as well (see, e.g., Chomsky 1980, 43; 1995, 79; Safir 2004, 7–72), it seems in general not to play an elaborated theoretical role, Higginbotham 1983 being a notable exception. In Principles and Parameters work, a certain part of the domain covered by the traditional notion of antecedent ...

read more

5. The Structure of Imposters

pdf iconDownload PDF (463.1 KB)
pp. 47-70

In chapter 3, we showed that under a variety of conditions, an imposter can determine non–3rd person pronominal agreement. This is a priori surprising, since with the exception of examples like yours truly, the imposters studied in this book invariably have the form of regular 3rd person DPs. ...

read more

6. The Structure of Camouflage DPs

pdf iconDownload PDF (373.6 KB)
pp. 71-88

The sort of duality shown in previous chapters to be manifested by imposters is also found in a distinct class of expressions we have called camouflage constructions in earlier work (Collins, Moody, and Postal 2008). These also arguably display a ϕ-feature value mismatch between a core pronominal and a shell parallel to that characteristic of imposters. ...

read more

7. Pronominal Agreement

pdf iconDownload PDF (133.7 KB)
pp. 89-98

In chapter 3, we presented the basic data of pronominal agreement with imposters. In chapter 4, we developed an account of antecedence motivated largely by the goal of characterizing pronominal agreement, and we gave a first version of a pronominal agreement principle based on antecedence. ...

read more

8. Accidental Coreference

pdf iconDownload PDF (117.7 KB)
pp. 99-104

In this chapter, we argue that pronominal agreement of 3rd person pronouns with imposter antecedents is incompatible with a widely influential approach to anaphora found in Grodzinsky and Reinhart 1993 and Heim and Kratzer 1998, 248, among other works (see Büring 2005 for a book-length development of Grodzinsky and Reinhart’s ideas). ...

read more

9. Coordinate Structures

pdf iconDownload PDF (301.7 KB)
pp. 105-130

A coordination of two or more DPs with different person values raises the question of the principles assigning a person value to the coordinate node dominating them. What is arguably the basic law governing the assignment of person values in conjunctive coordination was in essence already determined in traditional work, as in (1). ...

read more

10. Principle C Phenomena

pdf iconDownload PDF (110.3 KB)
pp. 131-134

In (1), a 1st person pronoun can c-command an imposter whose core DP has AUTHOR as an antecedent. But in (2), where pronoun and imposter match so as to indicate 3rd person agreement with the shell DP, ungrammaticality results. We claim that this contrast reduces to the antecedence-based version of Principle C stated in (45) of chapter 4. ...

read more

11. Epithets

pdf iconDownload PDF (144.2 KB)
pp. 135-140

In this book, we have defended the view that like nonexpletive pronominals, imposters and camouflage DPs take antecedents (see condition (51) of chapter 5). In this chapter, we compare imposters and camouflage DPs with epithets, such as the fool and the idiot, which prominent generative-syntax views have also analyzed as having antecedents. ...

read more

12. Homogeneity

pdf iconDownload PDF (152.9 KB)
pp. 141-154

In this chapter, we discuss a property of collections of pronominal occurrences related (in our terms) by antecedence. We call this property homogeneity. To grasp the issue, consider a sentence with two separate pronominals, each having the same imposter as an antecedent (although the two may not have the same immediate antecedent). ...

read more

13. Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF (250.5 KB)
pp. 155-180

As has been emphasized, we approach ϕ-feature value assignment to both agreeing pronominals and coordinate nodes via principles that appeal to what we call sources. Moreover, we distinguish between two types of sources: primary and secondary (see chapter 7). ...

read more

14. Agreement with Multiple Sources

pdf iconDownload PDF (138.5 KB)
pp. 181-190

One might naturally assume that the ϕ-feature values of a given nonexpletive pronominal must match the ϕ-feature values of some single DP with which it agrees. In our terms, the matching would be with the values of a single source. However, this assumed state of affairs, call it source uniqueness, is in no sense logically necessary. ...

read more

15. Fake Indexicals

pdf iconDownload PDF (131.1 KB)
pp. 191-200

An observation by Partee (1989) initiated a discussion of so-called fake indexicals: forms that have the shapes of non–3rd person pronominals but are interpreted as bound variables (for careful discussions, see Kratzer 1998, 2009; Rullmann 2004; Heim 2008). The following data illustrate a 1st person singular fake-indexical pronoun: ...

read more

16. Irreplaceable Pronominals

pdf iconDownload PDF (116.9 KB)
pp. 201-206

In many cases, a grammatical instance of a pronominal can be replaced without loss of grammaticality by an imposter or camouflage DP having the same ultimate antecedent. ...

read more

17. Camouflage Revisited

pdf iconDownload PDF (163.7 KB)
pp. 207-216

The relevant case is the one where the interpretation of (1b) is equivalent to that of (1a).1 How is this possible? In our terms, the issue is how the 3rd person pronominal can have as its antecedent the 2nd person DP ADDRESSEE. Since our Pronominal Agreement Condition requires a pronominal to agree with a source, ...

read more

18. Pronominal Imposters

pdf iconDownload PDF (133.9 KB)
pp. 217-224

Here, he is notionally 1st person, because its ultimate antecedent is AUTHOR, but it is grammatically 3rd person, because it has the form he, the normal English 3rd person masculine pronoun, and determines 3rd person verbal agreement. We will call pronominals like this pronominal imposters. ...

read more

19. Crosslinguistic Variation in Pronominal Agreement

pdf iconDownload PDF (136.3 KB)
pp. 225-228

This chapter is a very preliminary report on some crosslinguistic data we have accumulated about how pronominals agree with imposters. Given this information, we speculate that languages divide into two groups depending on how pronominal agreement with imposters works. ...

read more

20. Conclusion

pdf iconDownload PDF (109.1 KB)
pp. 229-232

As the quotations in (2) of chapter 3 indicate, it has been widely assumed that determining the ϕ-feature values of pronominals is essentially trivial. Syntactically, the main approach has been to say that a pronominal agrees with its antecedent, when it has one. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (260.3 KB)
pp. 233-258


pdf iconDownload PDF (129.6 KB)
pp. 259-266

Name Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (68.8 KB)
pp. 267-270

Subject Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (114.4 KB)
pp. 271-274

E-ISBN-13: 9780262301633
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262016889

Page Count: 284
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Grammar, Comparative and general -- Pronominals.
  • Grammar, Comparative and general -- Agreement.
  • Grammar, Comparative and general -- Pronoun.
  • Grammar, Comparative and general -- Noun.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access