Imperatives and their interaction with VP-ellipsis in Spanish



In this squib, I focus on the interaction between imperative formation and head stranding ellipsis in Spanish, with the aim of reassessing Martins’ (1994) generalization that head movement from V to the polarity-encoding head Σ is a necessary condition for licensing predicate ellipsis. The author argues that Spanish affirmative imperatives, derived by head movement to Σ, behave as predicted by the theory, giving rise to a particular instance of verb stranding ellipsis. In this paper, I show that Spanish does not have the type of ellipsis she predicts in affirmative imperatives. Putative examples of V-stranding XP-ellipsis in the relevant environments are analyzed here as involving some sort of exophoric null object, consistent with Masullo’s (2017) account. Thus, Spanish contrasts sharply with Portuguese, a language which does feature this variety of ellipsis. Consequently, there are important implications for the morphosyntax of Spanish imperatives, the licensing of ellipsis and, more broadly, the theory of head movement.


imperatives, null objects, V-stranding XP-ellipsis, head movement, Spanish


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