Coordinate Structure Constraint

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In generative syntax, Coordinate Structure Constraint is a constraint on movement proposed in Ross (1967) which says that

  • In a coordinate structure, no conjunct may be moved, nor may any element contained in a conjunct be moved out of that conjunct.


The CSC explains the ungrammaticality of (i) and (ii).

(i) * which professor did you divide the cake between [ Mieke and t ]

(ii) * which book did you [VP [VP steal t from Ger] and [VP give the paper to Jacqueline] ]

These examples violate the first and the second clause of the CSC, respectively.


Well-known exceptions to the CSC are Across-the-Board extractions.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • George, L. 1980. Analogical Generalization in Natural Language. Diss. MIT.
  • Pesetsky, D. 1982. Paths and categories. Diss. MIT.
  • Ross, J.R. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax. Doctoral dissertation, MIT (published as 'Infinite syntax!' Ablex, Norwood (1986)).