Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-6834
  • E-ISSN: 2211-6842
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The construction, exemplified by sentences such as is widespread across dialects of English. However, recent studies have revealed that behind this apparent unity, there is significant variation in the syntactic properties of the construction. Speakers vary with respect to (i) the status of as an auxiliary or main verb, (ii) the status of negation tests, and (iii) the status of a variety of related constructions. The goal of this paper is to sort out the microsyntax of across speakers, in the face of contradictory empirical claims and mutually incompatible proposals in the existing literature. We develop an analysis based in part on two wide-scale surveys we have conducted. With respect to we show that speakers who can treat it as a main verb can also treat it as an auxiliary, but not necessarily vice-versa. We propose that the variation in this case has to do with where the ect features are introduced in the clause. With respect to negation, we find that speakers do not treat all the negation tests the same, forcing us to contend with the question of how these tests work. We propose that for most speakers, only the embedded clause is syntactically negative. Negation tests split according to whether they must target the matrix clause, or whether they can target an embedded clause as well. In some cases, the tests reveal the same sentence to be both affirmative and negative, as we expect: the matrix clause is syntactically affirmative, but the embedded clause, which hosts the lexical content, is syntactically negative.


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