Complex NP Constraint
A complex NP constraint is one of the conditions on transformations in early generative syntax.
- No element contained in an S dominated by an NP with a lexical head noun may be moved out of that NP by a transformation. (Ross 1967:70).
This condition accounts for the ungrammaticality of the sentence:
* Who did you hear [NP the rumor [CP that Mary kissed t ]]
More recently, this class of facts have been analyzed as subjacency violations.
Ross, J.R. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax. Dissertation.