Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 381–415

On the syntax of adversative coordination


DOI: 10.1007/s11049-010-9094-0

Cite this article as:
Vicente, L. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2010) 28: 381. doi:10.1007/s11049-010-9094-0


A series of studies have distinguished two types of but, namely, corrective and counterexpectational. The difference between these two types has been considered largely semantic/pragmatic. This article shows that the semantic difference also translates into a different syntax for each type of but. More precisely, corrective but always requires clause-level coordination, with apparent counterexamples being derived through ellipsis within the second conjunct. On the other hand, counterexpectational but is not restricted in this way, and offers the possibility of coordination of both clausal and subclausal constituents. From this difference, it is possible to derive a number of syntactic asymmetries between corrective and counterexpectational but.


Coordination Ellipsis Negation Spanish English 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department LinguistikUniversität PotsdamGolmGermany

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