April 15, 2020
Pronominalization: A Standard Approach to Relativization
April 20, 2020
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Complementizers include WH- words and expletives that, if, and whether, all of which can be used to form subject or object relative clauses.

In the following examples, the rule of ordinary relative clause formation is such that the complementizer (bolded) is identical to the noun in the matrix noun phrase (italicized). As a result of this rule acting upon the relative clause, the last word, which has been pronominalized, is to be deleted.

The head-initialized antecedent (bolded), which is a complementizer and the syntactic head of a full clause, is an object of the embedded clause (underlined):

  • “It’s really an important public health strategy that we have people thinking about it.” (an appositive clause)
  • “Yes, and I think that it’s something that—I had to find a way to understand it as an adult.” (an appositive clause)
  • He steered clear of the danger that manifested itself as the individual’s wanting more credit than what he or she could afford to repay it.
  • He was suddenly worried that he’d allowed their silence to have made the situation worse than what he had calculated it.

SUMMARY/OBSERVATIONS: Pronominalization (using a pronoun instead of a noun) is a standard approach to relativization, whereby a noun or noun phrase in an embedded sentence is deleted or pronominalized. In the latter case, a resumptive pronoun is used as an alternative to relative clause formation.

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Garie McIntosh
Garie McIntosh
Garie McIntosh considers himself a story-telling communicator and a grammar enthusiast. His career focus is to write novels and educate others on the effective use of language in literary manuscripts. His objective, via this focus, is to make the elements and tools of his own success available through the educational and grammatical linguistic material that he produces for academic modules available on this website. These elements and tools would also be available through his educational and grammatical editing-service business, McIntoshLinguistics, which aims to formalize its approach through a process-method. Garie's goal and purpose are to write stories with strong, authentic characters that are defined by strong writing and themes and thereby reinforce the power of communication. He has written and published his first novel, What's in a Name.

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