Two Types of pseudo-clefts?

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Sentences such as 'What Fred does is complain' and 'What Fred does is important' have both been labeled as pseudo-clefts, though of two distinct types. We provide four tests to structurally distinguish such constructions. Entailment patterns and a number of structural ties between the post-copular constituent and specific constituents of the pre-copular relative clause suggest using the label ‘pseudo-cleft’ for the former type only. This paper also examines certain cases of pseudo-clefts with no simple correlates, and vice versa, to argue – contra Higgins 1973 – that these do not necessarily contradict the existence of a structural connection (a transformation, in the sense of Z. S. Harris) between the members of pairs formed by a pseudo-cleft and its non-cleft counterpart.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th International Conference on Lexis and Grammar
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Cite this

Mirto, I. M. (2010). Two Types of pseudo-clefts? In Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Lexis and Grammar (pp. 215-225)