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Pruning is an eliminating structure.


S-pruning as stated in (i) derives the structure in (iii)c from the structure in (iii)b, both underlying sentence (ii).

(i) S-pruning: delete any embedded node S which does not branch (i.e.
    which does not immediately dominate at least two nodes) (Ross 1967:26)
(ii)     John wanted to see that movie
(iii) a	 John wanted [S John [VP to see that movie]]
      b	 John wanted [S [VP to see that movie]]
      c	 John wanted [VP to see that movie]

In (iii)a Equi NP deletion eliminates the embedded subject, deriving (iii)b. Now the S no longer branches and must be deleted, deriving (iii)c. Pruning has also been invoked in the analyses of Restructuring in Italian and Verb Raising in German and Dutch. In effect, pruning is similar to S-bar deletion ( CP-reduction).



  • Burzio, L. 1986. Italian Syntax, Reidel, Dordrecht.
  • Evers, A. 1975. The transformational cycle in Dutch and German, diss. Utrecht University, distr. by IULC.
  • Ross, J.R. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax, doctoral dissertation, MIT (published as 'Infinite syntax!' Ablex, Norwood (1986)).