Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 939–971 | Cite as

Multiple agree with clitics: person complementarity vs. omnivorous number

  • Andrew NevinsEmail author


This paper capitalizes on the difference between person complementarity (e.g. PCC effects) and omnivorous number (e.g. the fact that a single plural marker can be used to cross-reference more than one plural argument) by proposing that the same syntactic mechanism of Multiple Agree is responsible for both. The widely divergent surface difference results from the fact that person features are fully binary, whereas number features are syntactically privative. Additionally, arguments drawn from a variety of verbal cross-referencing morphemes implicating phi-interactions between subject and object support the claim that these elements are clitics, necessitating a principled morphosyntactic difference between clitics and other DPs undergoing object shift, and revisitation of the clitic-affix distinction.


Multiple agree Omnivorous number Person complementarity Syntactic rebracketing Clitic/affix distinction Tense-invariance 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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