Argument structure and quantifier scope

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In this article, I argue for a theory in which all argument DP/PPs (as well as ‘quasi-arguments’ such as Source, Goal, Benefactive, Instrumental, etc.) are projected above the root in specifiers of ‘light verb’ categories. I also argue that the order in which the three basic argument categories Ag(ent), Th(eme) and Appl(icative) are merged is exactly the opposite of that which is usually assumed, namely, Ag < Th < Appl. The proposed theory succeeds in deriving the subject of active sentences and the by-phrase of passives from the same argument position without assuming syntactic lowering or an ad hoc rule of “th-transfer”. It also accounts directly for the relation between double object and propositional dative structures in a way that explains their special syntactic properties. Finally, the proposed theory, together with some new ideas about quantifier scope, derives the special scope properties of these dative constructions.


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