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In generative syntax, a CP-reduction is a process which deletes CP (also known as S-bar deletion).


In (i) expect assigns structural accusative Case to the subject (Greg) of its complement clause (Greg to win). This should not be possible if this clause were a full CP, because expect could not govern the subject in that case (CP would be a barrier). If expects deletes CP, government is possible, as the remaining IP is not a barrier to government.

(i) Everybody expected [IP Greg to win ]

CP-reduction has also been assumed to obtain in Raising to Subject constructions such as (ii):

(ii) John seems [IP t to have won ]

In order for the trace of John to be properly governed by the matrix verb, the embedded clause may not be a barrier.


CP-reduction has been proposed to explain Exceptional Case Marking (ECM).


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


Chomsky, Noam A. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht:Foris.