Complementizer deletion

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In generative syntax, a complementizer deletion is the process of deleting a complementizer.


 (i)   a I know that he is here
       b I know _ he is here

This deletion has also been taken to apply to wh-words in relative clauses as in (ii).

 (ii)  a the man whom I have seen
       b the man _ I have seen


The underlying assumption is that the wh-word is in the COMP position. This assumption has been abandoned with the introduction of CP. Now the empty slot '_' in (ii)b is usually analyzed as an empty operator.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics

See also


  • Haegeman, L. 1991. Introduction to Government and Binding Theory. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • van Riemsdijk, H. & Williams, E. 1986. Introduction to the theory of grammar. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.