Remarks and replies: The proper analysis of "missing-P" free relative constructions

Alexander Grosu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Larson (1987) proposes, contra Bresnan and Grimshaw (1978), that free relatives with "missing" Ps are NP-headed and undergo antecedent-contained deletion, and that adjectival/adverbial free relatives are "free comparatives." Using data not previously considered, he argues for a head analysis of wh-phrases in free relatives. I argue here, on the basis of data from English, French, and German, that (i) Larson's argument for the "head analysis" is invalid, (ii) free AP/AdvP constructions are relatives, not comparatives, (iii) free relatives of all categories are headed by null categories, and (iv) in missing-P free relatives, the overt P and the wh-phrase form a constituent located in [Spec, C′].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-293
Number of pages37
JournalLinguistic Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1996


  • "Free comparative," pro
  • Antecedent-contained deletion
  • Free relative
  • Head vs. complementizer analysis
  • Missing preposition


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