I'm trying to figure out whether the verb in bold below is a Raising to Subject or Subject control verb.

The boys were rumored to have done so.

If it were was rumored, I could see more clearly that it's a Raising to Subject verb. You could do the expletive It test - "It was rumored that the boys did so". But since it's were, would that affect it in any way? It's being affected by the subject. You can't say "It were rumored to have done so."

  • 2
    It's not Raising to Subject (A-Raising). It's Raising to Object (B-Raising), followed by Passive and indefinite subject deletion. Original structure: indef rumored [(for the boys) to have done so] --> indef rumored the boys [to have done so] --> the boys were rumored (by indef) [to have done so]. See the Cliff's on Equi and Raising.
    – jlawler
    Mar 14 '13 at 0:14

I don't think that the expletive insertion could work for The boy was rumoured but not for The boys were rumoured. Your test sentence It was rumoured that the boys did so indeed proves that be rumoured is a raising predicate. Look at your wrong result: *It were rumoured to have done so. Of course it's unacceptable because it doesn't have the (CP) that-clause that you used in the correct expletive test. If I recall correctly, this kind of clauses prevent the subject to be raised, but the expletive comes to the rescue. The verb has to agree with the expletive, not with a noun phrase that is blocked for movement. That's why you get it was and not *it were.

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