Third construction

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Third Construction is a construction typical of Dutch and German in which part of an infinitival complement appears to be extraposed.


In (Dutch) (i)a the infinitival complement has been extraposed in toto, but in (i)b, the so-called third construction, part of the complement (de prijs) is in situ.

(i)   a  Kees heeft geweigerd [de prijs in ontvangst te nemen]
      b  Kees heeft de prijs geweigerd [in ontvangst te nemen]
 	 Kees has   the prize refused  in acceptance to take
         'Kees has refused to accept the prize'

The construction in (i)b can be analyzed as a case of remnant extraposition: some element(s) - de prijs in (i)b - is (are) removed (by scrambling) from the infinitival complement, before the remnant of it is extraposed. In many cases, the remnant will only contain the infinitival verb and the result looks like a verb raising construction. The distinguishing feature is the impossibility of IPP in case of a third construction, and the fact that IPP is obligatory in case of verb raising (cf. (iii).

(ii)	Jan heeft een boek geprobeerd te lezen
	Jan has   a   book tried      to read
(iii)	Jan heeft een boek proberen te lezen
	'Jan has tried to read a book'

The third construction cannot be equated with VP Raising.



  • Besten, H. den & J. Rutten 1989. On verb raising, extraposition and free word order in Dutch and German, in: D. Jaspers et al. (eds.) Sentential complementation and the lexicon. Studies in honour of Wim de Geest, Foris, Dordrecht.
  • Rutten, J. 1991. Infinitival Complements and Auxiliaries, Diss, UvA, Amsterdam.
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