, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 1-19

On the surface structure of infinitive-complement sentences

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Abstract

Linguists' inability to reach consensus about the surface structure of infinitive-complement sentences with verbs likebelieve is a consequence of unresolved foundational disputes about the nature of generative grammar. Naive native speakers' linguistic intuitions about sentences of this type, as assessed by elicitation of judgments about surface structure, also fail to provide a solution to this problem. Insofar as we have no way of deciding on the surface structure ofbelieve-type infinitive-complement sentences, click-displacement results with these materials cannot be used to support either a surface-structure account or a deep-structure account of the parsing of sentences in the process of comprehension.

This research was supported in part by Grant MH 08520-12 from the National Institute of Mental Health.
The order of appearance of the names of the first and second authors was determined by a flip of a coin.