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In generative syntax, establishing a relation between two elements across another element which somehow interferes with that relation. The name crossover derives from Ross's Crossover Condition:

  • No NP mentioned in the structural index of a transformation may be reordered by that rule in such a way as to cross over a co-referential NP. (Ross 1967:73)


This condition accounts for the ill-formedness of the following sentence: the NP which has been moved across the co-referential NP it.

* The pudding whichi the man who ordered iti said ti would be tasty was a horror show.


Two subcases distinguished are strong crossover and weak crossover.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Postal, P. 1971. Cross-over phenomena. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Ross, J.R. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax. Doctoral dissertation, MIT (published as 'Infinite syntax!' Ablex, Norwood (1986)).