Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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In studies of English complementation, noun clauses introduced by the complementizer that, in contrast with simple substantives and -ing forms, are almost invariably assumed to be incompatible with prepositional structure. Where an underlying preposition is nevertheless postulated in the interests of generality, its deletion before a that clause is de rigueur. Thus, the verb insist, for example, accepts some prepositional complements: Max insists on punctuality, Max insists on Mary's being punctual, but when a that-clause is involved, such a construction is ungrammatical: *Max insists on that Mary be punctual. The complement apparently must stand alone, without a preposition: Max insists that Mary be punctual. The present paper aims at showing that these clauses may also be found in prepositional complements, for at least 40 verbs, when the pronoun it appears on the surface, as in Max insists on it that Mary be punctual. This facet of English syntax in fact resembles what is observed in at least two Romance languages. In French, there exist sentences like Le ministre consent à ce que le musée soit démoli, le ministre s'est étonné de ce que le musée soit démoli. Only à and de may be found in these constructions (in English a wide range of prepositions is used). The presence of ce is necessary. Italian, on the other hand, has a construction in which no lexical material is required between preposition and clause; the cross-linguistic data suggest that this intervening material is not universally obligatory. Further, the juxtaposition of it with that clauses is independently motivated for English. It is proposed, therfore, that the paradigm of prepositional complementation be enriched to include that clauses among the possible constituents.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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