1

How do overt subjects of non-finite clauses such as the gerund clause below obtain accusative case despite there being no accusative case or ECM assigner?

Me arriving late is a sure thing

I think I can figure out how they get case if the verb of the matrix clause is a regular non-copular verb as in the sentence below with a perception verb, but the sentence above having a copula as the matrix verb makes it very difficult to analyse because I don't think the subject is able to obtain ECM from the copula.

I saw him eating the cake.
  • 1
    The subject smuggles in ECM from a private supplier. – jlawler Mar 13 '17 at 18:50
  • @jlawler And who would that private supplier be? – Morphosyntax Mar 14 '17 at 1:22
  • I don't follow you. The matrix clause "Me arriving late to work" is a gerund-participial clause. The embedded clause "to work" is subjectless infinitive clause; the understood subject "me" is determined syntactically from the matrix. Subjects of gerund-participial clauses can also be in the genitive case, cf. "My arriving late to work ...". Btw, your example is not natural. Are you sure you meant "late to work"? – BillJ Mar 18 '17 at 8:48
  • @BillJ I got the terms 'infinitive' and 'non-finite' mixed up. The subject of the non-finite gerund clause is the one in question. The clause "to work" has nothing to do with this and could be omitted as in "me arriving late is a sure thing". How is the accusative subject "determined syntactically"? The question asks how it gets accusative case. – Morphosyntax Mar 19 '17 at 4:18
  • Non-finite gerund-participial clauses can generally take accusative or genitive subjects, so both Me arriving late ... and My arriving late are possible. When I said "determined syntactically", I was referring to the subject of the embedded infinitival clause to work, where the subject "me" is obtained from the matrix clause, i.e. syntactically. As to why: I don't know; perhaps it has something to do with Latin. – BillJ Mar 19 '17 at 11:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.