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Linguistic Inquiry

Spring 2008, Vol. 39, No. 2, Pages 191-220
(doi: 10.1162/ling.2008.39.2.191)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ellipsis Sites as Definite Descriptions
Article PDF (374.45 KB)

This article analyzes three phenomena that are troublesome for some theories of ellipsis: the existence of sloppy readings when the relevant pronouns cannot possibly be bound; cases where the antecedent of ellipsis does itself contain an ellipsis site, but in resolving the larger ellipsis the interpretation understood at the ellipsis site in the antecedent is not used; and cases where an ellipsis site draws upon material from two or more separate antecedents. These cases are accounted for by an analysis of silent VPs and NPs that makes them into higher-order definite descriptions that can be bound into.