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A Brief History of the Verb To Be$
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Andrea Moro

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037129

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037129.001.0001

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The Strange Case of Verbs without Subjects

The Strange Case of Verbs without Subjects

(p.127) 3 The Strange Case of Verbs without Subjects
A Brief History of the Verb To Be

Andrea Moro

The MIT Press

This chapter analyzes some special verbs, that is, verbs that do not have a subject. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 3.1 looks at a central structural property of natural languages, involving a special type of syntactic movement called “raising.” Section 3.2 analyzes the verb to be and examines the main stages that led to the canonical theory of the 1980s. Finally, Section 3.3 shows how letting go of a sentence theory axiom allows the resolution of the anomaly of sentences with the verb to be, leading to a unified theory of copular sentences and ultimately to new questions about the general architecture of syntax in natural languages.

Keywords:   verbs, to be, linguistics, natural language, subject, sentence theory axiom, copular sentences, raising

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