Mapping out- argument structure

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2 Scopus citations


This article explores a phenomenon of English in which out- combines with a predicate to form a complex predicate (e.g., outsing, outdo, outrun, outsmart, …), here called “out-pred.” A thorough investigation uncovers several new generalizations, which can be summarized as follows. (i) Out-pred formation is productive and syntactic, building upon the structure for the pred. (ii) Out- is the core of the out-pred clause's extended verbal projection. These findings are derived via an analysis in which out- merges with the pred before any argument(s) can merge. This analysis is then further supported by exploring domains in which out-pred is unavailable; though these are seemingly unrelated, they share deep derivational properties that are incompatible with the derivation of out-pred. The findings of this article have implications for the syntactic representation of argument structure more generally, supporting analyses where all arguments of a verb are syntactically severed from it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-465
Number of pages49
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • English
  • VP structure
  • argument structure
  • morphosyntax
  • syntax–semantics interface


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