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It's been a couple years since I've taken a syntax class, and I've forgotten - what tests can you use to check whether a speaker uses a word as a conjunction? I seem to remember something about testing where the speaker can attach different clauses in the sentence, but I don't remember the details. I'd appreciate any explanations, or links to published papers discussing this topic!

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  • If the answer below brings the information you need, you should consider clicking on the "tick" of the answer so as to check the answer as the "accepted answer". Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 18:22

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In The Syntactic Phenomena of English, McCawley uses Ross's CSC (Coordinate Structure Constraint) and RNR as diagnostics for coordinate conjunctions. See, e.g., p. 616, where M. investigates contrastive negative but.

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    This resembles a Link-Only-Answer... Could you explain or sum up about it a bit? Commented May 5, 2019 at 8:44
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    @StephaneRolland, The CSC requires that all conjuncts of a coordinate structure be affected equally by any rule that affects one of them. So, if you find that the parts of a structure are affected equally, by an extraction for example, this identifies it as a coordinate structure. McCawley has a whole chapter of his book on coordination, and I cannot do it justice here. Some of the book is online, and I urge you to go there and take a look. Here is another web reference: books.google.com/…
    – Greg Lee
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 12:35
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    @StephaneRolland, My characterization of rules which must conform to the CSC should have mentioned that rules constrained by the CSC must have a conditioning factor outside of the putative coordinate structure.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 1:56
  • thanks for your additional information. I have some difficulties understanding your second comment. What is the most important ? First, that there is at least one conditionning statement, or second, that this statement is outside the structure ? Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 18:12
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    @StephaneRolland, They are both necessary conditions.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 18:22

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