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This squib argues against the predicate inversion analysis of English existential there-sentences. The main problem of this analysis is caused by wh-extraction data. Wh-extraction is possible of and from the noun phrase in there-BE (there-sentences with the copula), but not in there-V sentences (there-sentences with other verbs). This is not predicted by the predicate inversion analysis. It is shown that the predicate inversion analysis is adequate (with some modifications) for there-V sentences and locative inversion. Existential there-sentences, however, need to be analysed differently. They are derived from a predication configuration in which there is the subject of predication and the sentence states about this location that it contains the kind and amount/number of individuals given in the noun phrase. The existential reading arises from the interaction of this predication configuration and existential closure of an empty D-layer of the noun phrase.

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Acta Linguistica Hungarica
Language English
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1951
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