Quotative Inversion in Peninsular Portuguese and Spanish, and in English


  • Gabriela Matos Universidade de Lisboa


Quotative parenthetical clauses exhibit a complement gap and, depending on the language, display obligatory or optional subject inversion. This paper presents exhaustive evidence that the quote does not originate as the complement of the parenthetical. Instead the parenthetical is an adjunct of the quote and may occupy different positions inside it. Thus, along with previous analyses, it is claimed that the object gap is a variable bound by a null operator recovered by the quote. The obligatory subject inversion in Peninsular Portuguese and Spanish quotative parentheticals is taken to be the result of structural constraints on focus: in these languages informational focus is constrained to postverbal positions, fronted focus being interpreted as contrastive. In contrast, in English preverbal focus is not restricted to contrastive focus and preverbal informational focus subjects are the most common pattern. Yet, English still allows postverbal informatio-nal focus subjects in some constructions, namely in Quotative Inversion.


quotative parentheticals, quotative inversion, null complement, informational focus, Peninsular Spanish, European Portuguese




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