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There-insertion is a operation which inserts expletive there in the first, presumably the subject position of an existential sentence.


(i)a has been analyzed as being derived from (i)b by inserting there in the empty slot '__'.

(i) a  there is someone in the room
    b   __ is someone in the room

This construction is now usually analyzed with the expletive base-generated in subject position and the logical subject adjoined or attached to VP. See CHAIN, Definiteness effect.



  • Chomsky, N. 1986a. Knowledge of language: its nature, origin and use, Praeger, New York.
  • Chomsky, N. and H. Lasnik 1993. The theory of principles and parameters, in: J. Jacobs A. von Stechow, W. Sternefeld, and T. Vennemann (eds.) Syntax: an international handbook of contemporary research, De Gruyter, Berlin. Reprinted in: Chomsky (1995), The minimalist program, ch.1, pp.13-127, MIT Press, Cambridge MA.
  • Milsark, G.L. 1974. Existential sentences in English, diss. MIT.
  • Safir, K. 1985. Syntactic Chains, Cambridge University Press.

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