LINGUIST List 28.4697

Thu Nov 09 2017

Sum: Adjunction Site for Time Adverbials in English

Editor for this issue: Kenneth Steimel <>

Date: 04-Nov-2017
From: Carsten Breul <>
Subject: Adjunction Site for Time Adverbials in English
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Dear colleagues,

this relates to my LinguistList query ''Adjunction Site for Time Adverbials in English'' (28.4531).

I am grateful to the following people for their judgements and comments: Benjamin Bruening, Bruce Despain, Matthew Reeve, And Rosta, Rudy Troike. Most of them find all my examples (1)-(8) acceptable and observe that those sentences where the time adverbial is left stranded by VP preposing, i.e. (2, 4, 6, 8), require comma intonation or heavy stress on the adverbial. And Rosta notes that, for him, a VP preposing construction in the present perfect is generally of diminished acceptability if the sentence that provides the appropriate context for the use of that construction (my preceding, bracketed sentence) is not also in the present perfect. He also finds that (1, 3, 5, 7) are pragmatically (information structurally) anomalous in that the time adverbial would need to be information structurally given if pied-piped by VP preposing, which it is not in (1, 3, 5, 7). Rudy Troike's observation that the position of the time adverbial in (1, 3) seems to indicate that it is focused and that for him (2, 4) sound more normal and less emphatic appears to go in a similar direction. (I think ''comma intonation'' or ''heavy stress'' on the one hand and ''less emphatic'' on the other hand suggest different possible intonation contours with different information structural implications.) I conclude that, in principle, positional time adverbials can be merged both below and above the auxiliaries DO and HAVE. I may finally note that, as anticipated in my query, informants have different intuitions about the past participle vs. base form alternative for the verb in VP preposings in perfects.

Thanks again and best regards, Carsten

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Page Updated: 09-Nov-2017