• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
5.2.2.1. Control infinitivals
quickinfo

This section discusses control constructions with an argumental te-infinitival. The examples in (440) show that such infinitival clauses behave like finite argument clauses in that they are normally in extraposed position, that is, placed after the verbs in clause-final position. The te-infinitivals we discuss in this section do not participate in verb clustering, but since much more can and should be said about this, we will not address this issue here but postpone it to Section 5.2.2.3.

Example 440
a. dat Jani heeft beweerd [dat hiji/j dat boek gekocht heeft].
  that  Jan  has  claimed   that  he that book  bought  has
  'that Jan has claimed that he has bought that book.'
b. dat Jani heeft beweerd [(*om) PROi dat boek gekocht te hebben].
  that  Jan  has  claimed    comp  that book  bought  to have
  'that Jan has claimed to have bought that book.'

The main issues in this section is whether control in examples such as (440b) is obligatory in the sense defined in (441); we refer the reader to Section 5.2.1.3, sub IIIA, for a brief discussion of this definition.

Example 441
Obligatory control requires the antecedent of PRO to:
a. be overtly realized in the sentence containing PRO;
b. be local (a co-argument of the infinitival clause containing PRO);
c. be a c-commanding nominal argument (subject or object);
d. be unique (cannot be "split").

Section 5.2.1.3 has argued that cases such as (442a), in which the matrix verb takes an argument in the form of an om + te-infinitival, do not involve obligatory control in the sense of (441). This is clear from the fact that examples of this type allow passivization; the passive construction in (442b) does not have an overt controller for the PRO-subject, thus violating restriction (441a), and even if we were to express the controller by means of an agentive door-phrase, the resulting structure would violate the c-command restriction in (441c).

Example 442
a. Jani probeerde [(om) PROi dat boek te kopen].
  Jan  tried  comp  that book  to buy
  'Jan tried to buy that book.'
b. Er werd geprobeerd [(om) PROarb dat boek te kopen].
  there  was  tried  comp  that book  to buy
  'It was tried to buy that book.'

Control constructions in which the matrix verb takes an argument in the form of a te-infinitival, on the other hand, do seem to involve obligatory control given that such constructions do not allow passivization. The passive counterparts of the examples in (440) given in (443) show that the verb beweren readily allows passivization if it takes a finite argument clause, but not if it takes an infinitival argument clause. It is therefore plausible to attribute this difference in acceptability to the fact that the PRO-subject must be obligatorily controlled; see Van Haaften (1991:ch.4) for extensive discussion. Observe that the c-command restriction on obligatory control in (441c) correctly predicts that (443b) does not improve when we add an agentive door-phrase with a potential controller for PRO: *Er wordt door Jani beweerd [PROi dat boek te kopen].

Example 443
a. Er wordt beweerd [dat hij dat boek gekocht heeft].
  it  is  claimed   that  he  that book  bought  has
  'It is claimed that he has bought that book.'
b. * Er wordt beweerd [PROarb dat boek gekocht te hebben].
  there  is  claimed  that book  bought  to have

If control verbs with a te-infinitival argument clause indeed trigger obligatory control, we predict that they differ in a number of ways from control verbs with an om + te-infinitival argument clause. First, since restrictions (441a&b) require there to be a local controller of the PRO-subject, we predict that there are no constructions in which PRO receives an arbitrary interpretation, and, consequently, that subject control verbs categorically resist passivization and object control verbs never allow omission of their object. Second, restrictions (441a-c) require the controller to be a nominal argument of the control verb, that is, the controller cannot be part of some prepositional phrase; this entails that there are no object control verbs taking a prepositional indirect object. Third, restriction (441d) predicts that split antecedents are excluded.

readmore
[+]  I.  Subject control

Example (444) provides a sample of three subtypes of verbs with te-infinitival argument clauses that normally trigger subject control. The transitive and ditransitive verbs in (444a&b) are propositional verbs with a factive or a non-factive clausal complement; cf. Cremers (1983) and Van Haaften (1991:ch.4). The prepositional object verbs in (444c) also trigger subject control.

Example 444
a. Transitive verbs: betreuren'to regret', beseffen'to realize', beweren'to claim', denken'to think', geloven'to believe', menen'to suppose', vrezen'to fear', zeggen'to say'
b. Ditransitive verbs: antwoorden'to reply', berichten'to report', meedelen'to inform', schrijven'to write', verzekeren'to assure/promise', garanderen'to guarantee'
c. Intransitive and inherently reflexive PO-verbs: rekenen (op)'to count on', zich verbazen (over)'to be surprised about', zich verwonderen over'to be amazed at'

We have already shown in (443b) by means of the transitive verb beweren'to claim' that passivization of subject control verbs is impossible due to the fact that it demotes the subject to adjunct status. This is illustrated again in (445); passivization of the transitive verb geloven'to believe' results in unacceptability, regardless of whether the demoted subject is or is not expressed by means of a door-phrase. This supports the claim that we are dealing with obligatory control.

Example 445
a. Jani geloofde [PROi dat boek gekocht te hebben].
  Jan  believed  that book  bought  to have
  'Jan believed to have bought that book.'
b. * Er werd door Jani geloofd [PROi dat boek gekocht te hebben].
  there  was  by Jan  believed  that book  bought  to have
b'. * Er werd geloofd [PROarb dat boek gekocht te hebben].
  there  was  believed  that book  bought  to have

The examples in (446) show the same thing for the ditransitive verb garanderen'to guarantee'; passivization is blocked, regardless of whether the demoted subject is expressed by means of a door-phrase. Again, this supports the claim that we are dealing with obligatory control.

Example 446
a. Jani garandeerde me [PROi me dat boek toe te sturen].
  Jan  guaranteed  me  me that book  prt.  to send
  'Jan guaranteed me that he would send that book to me.'
b. * Er werd me door Jani gegarandeerd [PROi me dat boek toe te sturen].
  there  was  me  by Jan  guaranteed  me that book  prt.  to send
b'. * Er werd me gegarandeerd [PROarb me dat boek toe te sturen].
  there  was  me  guaranteed  me that book  prt.  to send

      The ditransitive verb schrijven'to write' is special to some degree in that it not only allows subject but also object control. First consider the primeless examples in (447), which show that the actual interpretation of PRO depends on the pronoun hem/haar'him/her' in the infinitival clause. On the reading that the pronoun hem is coreferential with the object of the matrix clause, example (447a) cannot but be interpreted in such a way that PRO is controlled by the subject of the matrix clause: object control would violate the requirement that the pronoun be free (= not bound) within its own clause; see Section N5.2.1.5, sub III. Similarly, on the reading that the pronoun haar is coreferential with the subject of the matrix clause, example (447b) must be interpreted in such a way that PRO is controlled by the object of the matrix clause: subject control would again violate the requirement that the pronoun is to be free in its own clause. The crucial point is that the acceptability contrast between the two primed examples in (447) shows that subject control blocks passivization whereas object control allows it. These passivization facts again suggest that we are dealing with obligatory control: example (447a') is unacceptable on the reading that Jan will be sent the book due to passivization demoting the subject controller to adjunct status; example (447b') is acceptable due to the fact that passivization does not affect the status of the object controller.

Example 447
a. Mariei schreef Janj [PROi/*j hemj dat boek toe te sturen].
  Marie  wrote  Jan  him  that book  prt.  to send
  'Marie wrote to Jan that she (= Marie) would send him (= Jan) that book.'
a'. * Er werd Janj geschreven [PROarb hemj dat boek toe te sturen].
  there  was  Jan  written  him  that book  prt.  to send
b. Mariei schreef Janj [PROj/*i haari dat boek toe te sturen].
  Marie  wrote  Jan  her  that book  prt.  to send
  'Marie wrote to Jan that he (= Jan) was to send her (= Marie) that book.'
b'. Er werd Janj geschreven [PROj haari dat boek toe te sturen].
  there  was  Jan  written  her  that book  prt.  to send

That the pattern in (447) is not accidental is clear from the fact that we find essentially the same in (448) where we see that the actual interpretation of PRO is restricted by the fact that the simplex reflexive zich/me of the inherently reflexive verb zich haasten'to hurry' must have an antecedent in its own clause; in the (a)-example third person zich requires PRO to be controlled by the third person subject, and in the (b)-examples first person me requires it to be controlled by the first person object of the clause. The unacceptability contrast between the primed examples again bears out that the subject control constructions cannot be passivized.

Example 448
a. Jani heeft mej verzekerd [PROi zichi niet te hoeven haasten].
  Jan has  me  assured  refl  not  to have.to  hurry
  'Jan assured me that he (=Jan) didnʼt have to hurry.'
a'. * Er is mej door Jani verzekerd [PROi zichi niet te hoeven haasten].
  there  is me  by Jan  assured  refl  not  to have.to  hurry
b. Jani heeft mej verzekerd [PROj mej niet te hoeven haasten].
  Jan has  me  assured  refl  not  to have.to  hurry
  'Jan assured me that I didnʼt have to hurry.'
b'. Er is mej door Jani verzekerd [PROj mej niet te hoeven haasten].
  there  is me  by Jan  assured  refl  not  to have.to  hurry

      The examples in (449) show that PO-verbs like rekenen op'to count on' are perfectly compatible with passivization if they take a finite complement clause but not if they take a te-infinitival clause; examples such as (449b') are clearly degraded. This suggests again that PRO-subjects of te-infinitivals are obligatorily controlled. Note that this cannot be illustrated for the inherently reflexive PO-verbs in (444c), given that these cannot be passivized anyway.

Example 449
a. Jan rekent erop [dat hij binnenkort mag vertrekken].
  Jan counts  on.it   that  he  soon  is.allowed  leave
  'Jan is counting on it that heʼll be allowed to leave soon.'
a'. Er wordt op gerekend [dat hij binnenkort mag vertrekken].
  there  is  on  counted   that  he  soon  is.allowed  leave
  'It can be counted on that heʼll be allowed to leave soon.'
b. Jani rekent erop [PROi binnenkort te mogen vertrekken].
  Jan counts  on.it  soon  to be.allowed  leave
  'Jan counts on being allowed to leave soon.'
b'. *? Er wordt op gerekend [PROarb binnenkort te mogen vertrekken].
  there  is  on  counted  soon  to be.allowed  leave

For completeness' sake, note that some adjective phrases also take te-infinitivals as prepositional objects; examples are doordrongen (van)'convinced of the necessity of' and zeker (van)'certain of'. In such cases, the PRO-subject is controlled by the logical subject of the adjective (which surfaces as the subject of a copular sentence): Jani is ervan doordrongen [PROi dat boek te moeten lezen]'Jan is convinced of the necessity of having to read that book'. Whether we are dealing with obligatory control here is difficult to say given that subjects of predicatively used adjectival phrase normally cannot be omitted for independent reasons.
      The discussion above has shown that there are good reasons for assuming that PRO-subjects of te-infinitivals differ conspicuously from PRO-subjects of om + te-infinitivals in that they are obligatorily controlled. This might also be supported by means of the nominalizations in (450a&b); Van Haaften (1991:100) deems (450b) to be unacceptable due to the lack of an overt controller for PRO. A potential problem is that example (450c) is acceptable, however, which is unexpected given the c-command restriction on obligatory control in (441c); we refer especially to Hoekstra (1999) for a possible solution of the c-command problem posed by (450c) which is based on the claim that the preposition van is not a preposition in the traditional sense of the word but a complementizer-like element; cf. Kayne (2000: part III) and Den Dikken (2006).

Example 450
a. Jansi bewering [PROi dat boek gelezen te hebben]
  Janʼs assertion  that book  read  to have
  'Janʼs claim to have read that book'
b. % de bewering [PROarb dat boek gelezen te hebben]
  the assertion  that book  read  to have
  'the claim to have read that book'
c. de bewering van Jani [PROi dat boek gelezen te hebben]
  the assertion  of Jan  that book  read  to have

We did not mark example (450b) with an asterisk because some speakers at least marginally accept such examples. Koster (1984b: Section 5), for example, claims that "it is almost always possible to replace the subject controller of an NP by an article", and he further argues that obligatory control requires that the te-infinitival should be a complement of a verb. If we are indeed dealing with non-obligatory control in (450), this would not only account for the fact that some speakers accept (450b), but it would also straightforwardly explain that the controller can be expressed by means of a van-PP in examples such as (450c).
      Although the discussion above has shown that it is not evident that the nominalization facts in (450) support the claim that PRO-subjects of all te-infinitivals are obligatorily controlled, we can still maintain that PRO-subjects of te-infinitivals selected by verbs cannot receive an arbitrary interpretation but must be controlled by a nominal argument of the matrix verb.

[+]  II.  Object control

There are not that many object control verbs taking te-infinitivals as arguments, and for this reason we have grouped the ditransitive verbs and the transitive PO-verbs together. Although causative psych-verbs functioning as object control verbs normally select om + te-infinitivals, a limited number of them take a te-infinitival.

Example 451
a. Ditransitive verbs and transitive (PO-)verb: aanwrijven'to impute', overtuigen (van)'to convince (of)', toedichten'to impute', verdenken (van)'to suspect', verwijten'to reproach', voorwerpen'to accuse'
b. Causative object experiencer verbs with a cause subject: verbazen'to amaze', verwonderen'to surprise'

The verbs in (451a) normally require object control, as shown by example (452a). It is difficult to establish, however, whether we are dealing with obligatory control because passivization does not affect the syntactic status of the indirect object of a ditransitive verb like verwijten in (452a). And although the object of a transitive PO-verb like verdenken (van)'to suspect (of)' is promoted to subject, the acceptability of (452b') is still in full accordance with the characterization of obligatory control in (441): the derived subject can function as a unique, local and c-commanding controller of the PRO-subject.

Example 452
a. Jani verweet haarj [PROj niets te doen].
  Jan  reproached  her  nothing  to do
  'Jan reproached her for not doing anything.'
a'. Er werd haarj verweten [PROj lui te zijn].
  there  was  her   reproached  lazy  to be
  'She was reproached for being lazy.'
b. De politiei verdenkt Elsj ervan [PROj de bank overvallen te hebben].
  the police  suspects  Els  of.it  the bank  prt.-robbed  to have
  'The police suspect Els of having robbed the bank.'
b'. Zijj wordt ervan verdacht [PROj de bank overvallen te hebben].
  she  is  of.it  suspected  the bank  prt.-robbed  to have
  'Sheʼs suspected of having robbed the bank.'

The hypothesis that we are dealing with obligatory control predicts that the indirect object in examples such as (452) cannot be omitted. Example (453a) shows that this prediction is correct, but this is not of much help as the indirect object cannot be omitted either in examples such as (453b), in which the infinitival is replaced by a finite clause; it is therefore likely that the degraded status of (453a) is due to independent factors.

Example 453
a. Jani verweet *(haarj) [PROj niets te doen].
  Jan  reproached      her  nothing  to do
  'Jan reproached her for not doing anything.'
b. Jani verweet *(haarj) [dat zij niets deed].
  Jan  reproached     her   that  she  nothing  did
  'Jan reproached her that she didnʼt do anything.'

There is nevertheless some indirect evidence that the verbs in (451a) involve obligatory control since some of these verbs allow control shift by manipulating the contents of the infinitival clause, e.g., by adding a deontic modal like mogen'to be allowed'. This is illustrated for the verb verwijten'to reproach' in (454); the fact that (454a) cannot be passivized supports the claim that the PRO-subject of the te-infinitival is obligatorily controlled.

Example 454
a. Jani verweet haarj [PROi niets te mogen doen].
  Jan  reproached  her  nothing  to be.allowed  do
  'Jan reproached her for not being allowed to do anything.'
b. * Er werd haarj verweten [PROarb niets te mogen doen].
  there  was  her  reproached  nothing  to be.allowed  do

Another potential argument can be built on the nominalizations of the (a)-examples in (453) and (454). Since the indirect object must be realized as an aan-PP in nominalizations, we expect object control to be blocked by the c-command restriction on obligatory control in (441c). The result, however, is equivocal: although many speakers indeed consider example (455a) marked compared to (455b), some speakers tend to accept it. The primed examples show that omitting the controller altogether does give rise to a degraded result, and this supports the idea that we are dealing with obligatory control. However, some speakers report that they do accept example (455c), in which both arguments are left implicit, which goes against this idea. The examples in (455) show again that it is not evident that PRO-subjects of te-infinitivals are obligatorily controlled in nominalizations, which can perhaps be seen as evidence for Koster's (1984b) claim that obligatory control occurs in te-infinitival complements of verbs only.

Example 455
a. ? Jansi verwijt aan haarj [PROj niets te doen]
object control
  Janʼs reproach to her  nothing  to do
a'. ?? Jansi verwijt [PROarb niets te doen]
  Janʼs reproach  nothing  to do
b. Jansi verwijt aan haarj [PROi niets te mogen doen]
subject control
  Janʼs reproach to her  nothing  to be.allowed  do
b'. ?? het verwijt aan haarj [PROarb niets te mogen doen]
  the reproach to her  nothing  to be.allowed  do
c. ? het verwijt [PROarb niets (te mogen) doen]
subject/object control
  the reproach  nothing  to be.allowed  do

Putting aside the problematic status of the examples in (455), we may conclude again that the verbal constructions discussed in this subsection confirm the prediction that PRO-subjects of te-infinitival argument clauses cannot receive an arbitrary interpretation but must be controlled by a nominal argument of the matrix verb.

[+]  III.  No PRO-subjects with split antecedents

There are good reasons for assuming that the verbs in (444) and (451) trigger obligatory control when they select a te-infinitival clause. First, the restrictions on obligatory control in (441a-c) predict that PRO cannot have arbitrary reference but must have an overt controller functioning as a nominal argument of the matrix verb. The two previous subsections have shown that this prediction is essentially correct. Second, the uniqueness restriction on obligatory control in (441d) predicts that PRO cannot have a split antecedent. This subsection will show that this prediction is also correct: the core data will be provided in Subsection A, while Subsection B discusses a potential counterexample.

[+]  A.  No split antecedents

Subsection I has shown that the ditransitive verb schrijven'to write' is compatible with subject as well as with object control; the relevant examples are repeated in (456a&b). That there can be such obligatory subject control verbs is to be expected given that the subject and the object are both in a c-command relation with the PRO-subject of the infinitival clause. However, the uniqueness restriction crucially predicts that such verbs do not allow PRO to take a split antecedent, and (456c) shows that this prediction is indeed correct. The reciprocal pronoun elkaar'each other' needs to have a plural antecedent in its clause, and this condition can only be met if PRO takes a split antecedent; the unacceptability of (456c) shows that this is not an acceptable option.

Example 456
a. Mariei schreef Janj [PROi/*j hemj dat boek toe te sturen].
  Marie  wrote  Jan  him  that book  prt.  to send
  'Marie wrote to Jan that she (= Marie) would send him (= Jan) that book.'
b. Mariei schreef Janj [PROj/*i haari dat boek toe te sturen].
  Marie  wrote  Jan  her  that book  prt.  to send
  'Marie wrote to Jan that he (= Jan) should send her (= Marie) that book.'
c. * Mariei schreef Janj [PROi+j elkaari+j die boeken toe te sturen].
  Marie  wrote  Jan  each.other  those books  prt.  to send
  Intended reading: 'Marie wrote to Jan that they (= Marie'
  'Jan) should send each other those books.'

The examples in (457a&b), which were also discussed in Subsection I, show that the transitive PO-verb verzekeren'to assure' is likewise compatible with subject and object control. Crucially, however, (457c) shows that it does not allow PRO to take a split antecedent; the reflexive ons must be bound by a first person, plural antecedent, which is only possible if PRO takes a split antecedent; the unacceptability of (457c) shows that this is not an acceptable option.

Example 457
a. Jani heeft mej verzekerd [PROi zichi niet te hoeven haasten].
  Jan has  me  assured  refl  not  to have.to  hurry
  'Jan assured me that he didnʼt have to hurry.'
b. Jani heeft mej verzekerd [PROj mej niet te hoeven haasten].
  Jan has  me  assured  refl  not  to have.to  hurry
  'Jan assured me that I didnʼt have to hurry.'
c. * Jani heeft mej verzekerd [PROi+j onsi+j niet te hoeven haasten].
  Jan has  me  assured  refl  not  to have.to  hurry
  Intended meaning: 'Jan assured me that we donʼt have to hurry.'

      The cases above involve verbs that normally trigger subject control, but the same thing can be illustrated with verbs that normally trigger object control, subsection II has shown that the verb verwijten'to reproach' allows control shift; the relevant examples are repeated as (458a&b). The existence of such obligatory object control verbs is to be expected, given that the object and the subject are both in a c-command relation with the PRO-subject of the infinitival clause. However, a crucial prediction is now that such verbs do not allow PRO to take a split antecedent, and (458c) shows that this prediction is indeed correct; the use of the reciprocal elkaar'each other' again forces a plural interpretation on PRO, and thus requires the latter to take a split antecedent: this leads to ungrammaticality. For completeness' sake, example (458c) shows that split antecedents are not possible in nominalizations either. It should be stressed that this is not incompatible with Koster's claim that obligatory control occurs in te-infinitival complements of verbs only: although the claim that PRO-subjects in te-infinitival complements of nouns are not obligatorily controlled is compatible with cases in which PRO takes a split antecedent, it does not predict that this is always an option: the semantics of the construction as a whole may make this impossible.

Example 458
a. Jani verweet *(haarj) [PROj niets te doen].
  Jan  reproached      her  nothing  to do
  'Jan reproached her for not doing anything.'
b. Jani verweet haarj [PROi niets te mogen doen].
  Jan  reproached  her  nothing  to be.allowed  do
  'Jan reproached her for not being allowed to do anything.'
c. * Jani verweet haarj [PROi+j niets voor elkaari+j te willen doen].
  Jan  reproached  her  nothing  for each.other  to want  do
  Intended meaning: 'Jan reproached her because they (= Jan and she) donʼt want to do anything for each other.'
c'. * Jansi verwijt aan haarj [PROi+j niets voor elkaari+j te willen doen].
  Janʼs  reproach  to her  nothing  for each.other  to want  do

The discussion above has shown that subject and object control verbs do not allow the PRO-subject of a te-infinitival to take a split antecedent, which provides strong evidence in favor of assuming that PRO-subjects of such infinitivals are obligatorily controlled.

[+]  B.  A potential counterexample

The discussion so far has shown that PRO-subjects of te-infinitival argument clauses are obligatorily controlled: the controller must be overtly realized as a unique nominal co-argument of the infinitival clause. This also seems to be the general conclusion in Van Haaften (1991), although he points out that there is one category of verbs that seems to defy this generalization; some examples are given in (459).

Example 459
Verbs of means of communication: antwoorden'to answer', berichten'to report', e-mailen'to email', faxen'to fax', meedelen'to announce', schrijven'to write', zeggen'to say'

Some of these verbs were already listed in Subsection I as subject control verbs. In this function they are in fact entirely well-behaved in requiring the PRO-subject of their infinitival complement to be obligatorily controlled, as is clear from the fact that passivization is excluded. This is illustrated in (460) for zeggen'to say', which is normally used as a transitive verb in this context.

Example 460
a. De directeuri zei [PROi morgen langs te komen].
  the manager  said  tomorrow  by  to come
  'The manager said that he (= the manager) would come by tomorrow.'
b. * Er werd door de directeuri gezegd [PROi morgen langs te komen].
  it  was  by the manager  said  tomorrow  by  to come

The verbs in (459) do, however, also have a secondary use with a directive meaning, in which case they trigger object control. This is illustrated for zeggen in (461a)—although speakers seem to vary with respect to the question as to whether they prefer a (non-directive) subject or a (directive) object control reading for examples of this type, they all agree that the corresponding passive constructions do not allow an arbitrary interpretation: (461b) requires object control.

Example 461
a. De directeuri zei mijj [PROi/j morgen langs te komen].
  the manager  said  me  tomorrow  by  to come
  'The manager told me that I had to/he would come by tomorrow.'
b. Er werd mijj gezegd [PROj/*arb morgen langs te komen].
  it  was   me  said  tomorrow  by  to come
  'I was told that I had to come by tomorrow.'

The facts discussed so far are completely compatible with the claim that we are dealing with obligatory control as the subject as well as the object make a suitable local, c-commanding controller for PRO. The problem, however, is that Van Haaften (1991) claims that in the directive use of the verbs in (459) the object controller need not be overtly realized. It is not clear how general this option is, but it seems to us that it holds at least for the verb zeggen; the primed examples in (462) indeed seem to be acceptable (albeit marked for some speakers) and examples of this type can readily be found on the internet.

Example 462
a. De politiei zei hemj [PROj te wachten].
  the police  said  him  to wait
  'The police told him to wait.'
a'. De politiei zei [PROarb te wachten].
  the police  said  to wait
b. Er werd hemj gezegd [PROj to wachten].
  there  was  him  said  to wait
  'He was told to wait.'
b'. Er werd gezegd [PROarb te wachten].
  there  was  said  to wait

The acceptability of the primed examples in (462) would be unexpected if we are dealing with obligatory control and this, in turn, seems to jeopardize the generalization that PRO-subjects of te-infinitivals are obligatorily controlled. One way out of this problem would be to claim that we are in fact not dealing with te-infinitivals, and Van Haaften (1991:124) indeed mentions in a footnote that some speakers allow the complementizer om if the verb zeggen is used with a directive meaning (although he himself considers the result doubtful). And when we check the internet for the string [ object pronoun + gezegd om te], we indeed find a sufficiently large number of examples with the intended directive meaning to warrant the claim that we are in fact dealing with om + te-infinitivals.

[+]  IV.  How te- and om + te-infinitivals differ

The comparison of control in te-infinitival complements with control in om + te-infinitivals in Section 5.2.1.3 has yielded the result that the two types of infinitival clauses systematically differ in that PRO-subjects of te-infinitivals, but not those of om + te-infinitivals, are obligatorily controlled in the sense defined in (441); see Van Haaften (1991) and Everaert (1991) for the same conclusion. Van Haaften claimed that this distinction is related to the semantic interpretation of the infinitival clauses; the two types of infinitival clauses differ in that te-infinitivals are propositional in nature, i.e., can be assigned a truth value, whereas om + te-infinitivals are not. This is illustrated in the primeless examples in (463); the English renderings in the primeless examples show that the te-infinitivals in the (b)-examples, but not the om + te-infinitivals in the (a)-examples, entail that Jan is actually in the process of reading the book at speech time (the asterisk and number signs indicate impossible readings). Om + te-infinitivals, on the other hand, refer to potential state-of-affairs in the non-actualized part of the tense domain; see Section 1.5.1, sub I, for this notion. This is clear from the fact illustrated in the primed examples that they differ from te-infinitivals in that they cannot contain the adverbial element al'already' in present-tense constructions; see Janssen (1992) for more discussion.

Example 463
a. Jani belooft [(om) PROi dat boek nu te lezen].
om + te-infinitival
  Jan  promises   comp  that book  now  to read
  'Jan promises to start reading/*read that book now.'
a'. * Jani belooft [(om) PROi dat boek al te lezen].
  Jan  promises  comp  that book  already  to read
b. Jani beweert [(*om) PROi dat boek nu te lezen].
te-infinitival
  Jan  claims    comp  that book  now  to read
  'Jan claims to be/#start reading that book now.'
b'. Jani beweert [(*om) PROi dat boek al te lezen].
  Jan  claims    comp  that book  already  to read

Van Haaften proposes the following diagnostics for distinguishing the two semantic types: propositional infinitivals allow epistemic modals, whereas non-propositional infinitivals do not (and the same holds in fact for deontic modals). Van Haaften further notes that propositional infinitivals can always be replaced by finite clauses, whereas this is often impossible with non-propositional clauses. See Cremers (1983), who first made the distinction between propositional and non-propositional infinitival clauses, for a number of other differences (e.g., concerning tense, gapping and topicalization).

Example 464
a. Jani probeert [(om) PROi de wedstrijd te (*kunnen/*zullen) winnen].
  Jan tries  comp  the game  to be.possible/will  win
  'Jan is trying to win the game'
a'. * Jan probeert [dat hij de wedstrijd wint].
  Jan tries   that  he  the game  wins
b. Jani beweert [(*om) PROi de wedstrijd te (kunnen/zullen) winnen].
  Jan claims    comp  the game  to be.possible/will  win
  'Jan claims (it to be possible/plausible for him) to win the game.'
b'. Jan beweert [dat hij de wedstrijd wint/zal winnen].
  Jan claims  that  he  the game  wins/will win
  'Jan claims that heʼll win the game.'

Van Haaften also claims that propositional infinitival clauses require obligatory control because they can only be assigned a truth value if their subject is assigned a referential value.
      Although this semantic approach seems to provide a more or lesss descriptively adequate description of the control facts, it still does not explain why the locally restricted syntactic dependency relation of obligatory control applies only to te-infinitivals. The remainder of this subsection will attempt to formulate an explanation in terms of the CP/TP distinction introduced in Section 9.1. If we follow Bennis & Hoekstra's (1985) claim discussed in Section 5.2.1.2 that om is a complementizer-like element situated in CP, we may hypothesize that the impossibility of having om in te-infinitivals marks the absence of the CP-projection; they are TPs.

Example 465
a. Hypothesis I: om + te-infinitivals are CPs
b. Hypothesis II: te-infinitivals are TPs

Note in passing that the hypotheses in (465) are not uncontroversial; Bennis & Hoekstra (1989c), for example, assume that all control infinitivals are CPs, which is convenient for them since they do not make the distinction between obligatory and non-obligatory control as defined in (441). We will try to provide a more solid basis for these hypotheses by considering in more detail the problematic verb zeggen discussed in Subsection IIIB. In keeping with the hypotheses in (465), we may assign the non-directive subject control examples in (460) the TP-structures in the (a)-examples in (466) given that they cannot be introduced by the complementizer om; note that we added the epistemic modal zullen in order to block the non-propositional, directive reading. The directive object control examples in (461), on the other hand, must be assigned the CP-structures in the (b)-examples given that they can be introduced by om. The primed examples show again that non-directive zeggen triggers obligatory control, whereas directive zeggen does not and allows a non-c-commanding or implicit controller for PRO.

Example 466
a. Jani zei [TP (*om) PROi morgen te zullen komen].
non-directive
  Jan  said   comp  tomorrow  to will  come
  'Jan said that he would come tomorrow.'
a'. * Er werd door Jani gezegd [TP PROi morgen te zullen komen].
  it  was  by Jan  said  tomorrow  to will  come
a''. * Er werd gezegd [TP PROarb morgen te zullen komen].
  it  was  said  tomorrow  to will  come
b. Jani zei mijj [CP (om) [TP PROj morgen te komen]].
directive
  Jan  said  me  comp  tomorrow  to come
  'Jan told me that I had to come tomorrow.'
b'. Er werd mijj gezegd [CP (om) [TP PROj morgen te komen]].
  it  was   me  said  comp  tomorrow  to come
b''. Er werd gezegd [CP (om) [TP PROarb morgen te komen]].
  it  was  said  comp tomorrow  to come

The proposed structural difference between non-directive and directive zeggen receives independent support from the fact that example (467a) only allows a directive reading of the verb. The reason for this is that embedded wh-movement requires there to be a CP-projection within the embedded clause, given that it targets the position left-adjacent to the phonetically empty complementizer (indicated by Ø); compare Ik weet niet wat of hij doet'I do not know what he is doing', in which the wh-phrase is placed to the left of the interrogative complementizer of'whether'. This leads to a conflict in the case of the non-directive subject control verb zeggen: wh-movement requires there to be a CP but this violates the selection restriction on this verb, as a result of which the structure in (467b) is rejected. In the case of the directive object control verb zeggen in (467b') there is no problem: both wh-movement and the selection restrictions of the verb require there to be a CP. Note in passing that we marked wat in (467b) with the label +wh to exclude its indefinite referential interpretation "something", as this interpretation would be compatible with a directive reading.

Example 467
a. Jan zei me wat[+wh] te doen.
  Jan said  me  what  to do
  'Jan told me what to do.'
b. * Jani zei mej [CP wat Ø [PROitwat te doen]].
non-directive
  Jan  told  me  what  comp  to do
b'. Jani zei mej [CP wat Ø [PROjtwat te doen]].
directive
  Jan  said  me  what  comp  to do

The hypotheses in (465) allows us to state the robust difference in control properties between om + te-infinitivals and te-infinitivals in more general terms: PRO-subjects of infinitival TPs, but not of infinitival CPs, are obligatorily controlled. This, in turn, can be phrased in even more general terms by means of the term island for locally restricted syntactic dependencies; see Hornstein (2001:56ff.) for a similar conclusion on the basis of English. The hypotheses in (468) express that such syntactic dependencies (like NP-movement and anaphor binding) can in principle be established across a TP-boundary, but not across a CP-boundary.

Example 468
a. Hypothesis III: CPs are islands for locally restricted syntactic dependencies.
b. Hypothesis IV: TPs are not islands for locally restricted syntactic dependencies.

That obligatory control is also covered by the generalizations in (468) is precisely what one would expect on the basis of its definition in (441), given that Section 5.2.1.3, sub IIIA, has shown that it is molded on the more general definition of locally restricted syntactic dependency found in Koster (1984a/1987). Section 5.2.2.2, for example, will show that CPs, but not TPs, are syntactic islands for subject raising (which is a subtype of NP-movement). It may be interesting to note here that Koster's (1984b) claim that te-infinitival complements of nouns do not involve obligatory control suggests that TP-status may not be sufficient for transparency, and that (468b) may therefore be restricted to TPs governed by a verb. This would predict that, like obligatory control, subject raising is restricted to TP-complements of verbs, and this is indeed what Koster claims to be the case: see Section 5.2.2.2, sub C, for an illustration of this.
      What still remains to be established is what type of syntactic dependency obligatory control is: Does control involve a different type of syntactic dependency than movement, as claimed by the more traditional generative approaches (like Chomsky 1981), or are control and movement essentially identical syntactic dependencies? If the latter, their apparent differences cannot be accounted for by postulating some inherent difference between PRO and trace, but must be due to some other difference. It has been argued, for example, that these differences are due to whether or not the antecedent of the empty element (PRO/trace) has an independent thematic role. We will not discuss this proposal here but refer the reader to Koster (1978: Section 2.1.1) and, especially, Koster (1984a/1984b) for this line of investigation, which has recently been revived in a somewhat different form in Hornstein (2001) and the contributions collected in Hornstein & Polinsky (2010).

References:
  • Hornstein, Norbert & Polinsky, Maria (eds.)2010Movement theory of controlAmsterdam/PhiladelphiaJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Bennis, Hans & Hoekstra, Teun1985Een gat in de distributie van om-zinnenGLOT85-23
  • Bennis, Hans & Hoekstra, Teun1989Generatieve grammaticaDordrechtForis Publications
  • Chomsky, Noam1981Lectures on government and bindingStudies in generative grammar 9DordrechtForis Publications
  • Cremers, Crit1983On two types of infinitival complementationHeny, Frank & Richards, Barry (eds.)Linguistic Categories: auxiliaries and related puzzles1DordrechtReidel169-221
  • Cremers, Crit1983On two types of infinitival complementationHeny, Frank & Richards, Barry (eds.)Linguistic Categories: auxiliaries and related puzzles1DordrechtReidel169-221
  • Dikken, Marcel den2006Relators and linkers. The syntax of predication, predicate inversion, and copulasCambridge, MA/LondonMIT Press
  • Everaert, Martin1991InfinitiefzinnenModel, Jan (ed.)Grammatische analyse: syntactische verschijnselen van het Nederlands en EngelsDordrechtICG Publications
  • Haaften, Ton van1991De interpretatie van verzwegen subjectenFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Haaften, Ton van1991De interpretatie van verzwegen subjectenFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Haaften, Ton van1991De interpretatie van verzwegen subjectenFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Haaften, Ton van1991De interpretatie van verzwegen subjectenFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Haaften, Ton van1991De interpretatie van verzwegen subjectenFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Haaften, Ton van1991De interpretatie van verzwegen subjectenFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Haaften, Ton van1991De interpretatie van verzwegen subjectenFree University AmsterdamThesis
  • Hoekstra, Teun1999Parallels between nominal and verbal projectionsAdger, David, Pintzuk, Sysan, Plunkett, Bernadetta & Tsoulas, George (eds.)Specifiers: minimalist approachesOxford/New YorkOxford University Press163-187
  • Hornstein, Norbert2001Move! A minimalist theory of construalGenerative Syntax 5Malden, MA/Oxford (UK)Blackwell Publishers
  • Hornstein, Norbert2001Move! A minimalist theory of construalGenerative Syntax 5Malden, MA/Oxford (UK)Blackwell Publishers
  • Janssen, Theo1992Controle: een onbeheersbaar onderwerp in de regeer- en bindtheorieSpektator21327-344
  • Kayne, Richard S2000Parameters and universalsOxford studies in comparative syntaxNew YorkOxford University Press
  • Koster, Jan1978Locality principles in syntaxDordrechtForis Publications
  • Koster, Jan1984Anaphoric and non-anaphoric controlLinguistic Inquiry15417-459
  • Koster, Jan1984Anaphoric and non-anaphoric controlLinguistic Inquiry15417-459
  • Koster, Jan1984Infinitival complements in DutchGeest, Wim de & Putseys, Yvan (eds.)Sentential complementationForis Publications141-150
  • Koster, Jan1984Anaphoric and non-anaphoric controlLinguistic Inquiry15417-459
  • Koster, Jan1984Infinitival complements in DutchGeest, Wim de & Putseys, Yvan (eds.)Sentential complementationForis Publications141-150
  • Koster, Jan1984Anaphoric and non-anaphoric controlLinguistic Inquiry15417-459
  • Koster, Jan1987Domains and dynasties. The radical autonomy of syntaxDordrecht/ProvidenceForis Publications
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • 5.2.1.3. The implied subject PRO in om + te-infinitivals
    [97%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 5 Projection of verb phrases IIIb:Argument and complementive clauses > 5.2. Infinitival argument clauses > 5.2.1. Om + te-infinitivals
  • 5.2.2.3. Extraposition and verb clustering
    [95%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 5 Projection of verb phrases IIIb:Argument and complementive clauses > 5.2. Infinitival argument clauses > 5.2.2. Te-infinitivals
  • 5.2.2.2. Subject raising infinitivals
    [94%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 5 Projection of verb phrases IIIb:Argument and complementive clauses > 5.2. Infinitival argument clauses > 5.2.2. Te-infinitivals
  • 11.3.3. Topicalization
    [94%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 11 Word order in the clause III:Clause-initial position (wh-movement) > 11.3. Clause-initial position is filled
  • 3.3.3. Nominative/PP alternations
    [93%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 3 Projection of verb phrases II:Verb frame alternations > 3.3. Alternations of noun phrases and PPs
Show more ▼
cite
print
This topic is the result of an automatic conversion from Word and may therefore contain errors.
A free Open Access publication of the corresponding volumes of the Syntax of Dutch is available at OAPEN.org.