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In generative syntax, if two referential elements (NPs) in a structure refer to the same entity, i.e. have the same reference, this is called coreference.


In John says that he has been here before, the NPs John and he can be co-referential. Coreference is usually indicated by coindexing: Johni says that hei has been here before.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Chomsky, Noam A. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht:Foris.
  • Fiengo, R. & May, R. 1994. Indices and identity. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Lasnik, H. 1989. Essays on anaphora. Dordrecht: Reidel.