The Number Agreement of the English Coordinated Subject

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Kim, Kyooshiek
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Seoul National University Department of English Language and Literature
SNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics 1, 17-29.
coordinated subjectsnumber agreementsyntacticheadsinclusive "and"
English has various kinds of coordinated subjects, such as not only A but also B, either A or B, etc. There seems to be, however, no number agreement between those coordinated subjects and the main theory which provides a proper explanation on the problem of the verbs. This paper proposes that two kinds of agreement rules independently work in determining the number agreement in the construction. First, in the syntactic agreement, the head determines the agreement if there is a single syntactic head in the subject phrase whose number feature percolates up to the node dominating all the conjoined NPs. Second, in the semantic agreement, the meaning of the subject NP determines the plurality of the phrase and triggers the agreement: the phrase is interpreted as plural only when it includes the inclusive “and.” We will observe that the semantic agreement rule takes the priority of the two.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU working papers in English language and linguisticsSNU working papers in English language and linguistics Vol.01 (2002)
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