Nonobligatory Control with Communication Verbs: New Evidence and Implications

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When occurring without their goal argument, communication verbs induce two types of control: obligatory control (OC) by the implicit goal, or nonobligatory control (NOC) by a salient antecedent. Arguments are presented to demonstrate that the two are genuinely distinct, and furthermore, that the NOC option is not reducible to embedded imperatives. The two types of control implicate the same grammatical representations, the single difference being the choice of the context of evaluation for PRO (fixed as the reported context in OC, free in NOC). Finally, evidence is presented (from VP-ellipsis) that reference to deictic antecedents in NOC is not direct but mediated via grammatically present entities (SPEAKER and ADDRESSEE functions).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-96
Number of pages22
JournalLinguistic Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Communication verbs
  • Embedded imperatives
  • Nonobligatory control
  • Speech acts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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