Null objects and sentential complements, with evidence from the Corpus of Historical American English

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The present article discusses the occurrence of covert NP objects in object control structures with the matrix verb <i>warn</i>. The existence of such structures is at odds with Bach&#8217;s Generalization, which effectively states that the NP object in an object control structure may not be omitted. Evidence from COHA is introduced and discussed, to shed new light on the apparent exceptions to the Generalization. The frequency of the construction is tracked over the course of the past two centuries, and the nature of the covert NP object is also examined. The question is raised as to whether this NP can be assigned a general interpretation, as has been claimed in the literature, or whether a more specific interpretation is appropriate.


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