From Carnie's "Syntax: A Generative Introduction":

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This notation is not explicitly explained. What does it mean? (I'll write my conjecture below)

Recall that T is defined as follows:

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So I guess the first row in 17) means that the subcategory of T consisting of auxiliaries includes only non-modal and non-nonfinite verbs. The second row should mean that the subcategory of T consisting of modals includes only modal and non-nonfinite verbs. Is this a correct interpretation? It sort of makes sense to me.

But the third row is a little bit confusing. Is "to" a modal (since there is +modal mark)? Why isn't it included in "Modals" in 16) then?

  • 1
    Because modals (a group of verbs) and the [modal] feature are different things. Modals are [+modal] and [-nonfinite]. The [modal] feature can also be expressed by other means, it’s not solely expressed by modal verbs. – Alex B. Aug 28 '19 at 23:14

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