2

For wh-movements, I always think of what the sentence would have looked like if it wasn't a question (e.g. for sentence "which promise did he not keep?", I would think that the original sentence would be "he did not keep (which promise)" and move "which promise" and "did" for wh-movement)

However, I don't understand how this sentence works: "which canvas appears to have been painted with a red paint?". I figured that the original sentence would be "The/A canvas appears to have been painted with a read paint". How do I make an wh-movement for these type of sentences?

2

The original sentence for the question “Which canvas appears to have been painted with a red paint?” is “This/That canvas appears to have been painted with a red paint”, and the answer would be “This one/canvas” or “that one/canvas”.

The reason why that sentence has no does is that it is the subject noun phrase (NP) that is being questioned. When, say, an object is substituted by a wh-NP, then that does (or anything like do/did/is/must, etc.) stands between the wh-NP and the subject NP, e.g.:

“He reads The New York Times every morning.” – “The New York Times” is the object, if we put a question to it, we get:
What does he read every morning?” – does stands between the object “what” and the subject “he”.

But in the case of your canvas sentence when the wh-NP and the subject NP are the same, no do/does/did is “extracted”1 from the predicate verb, and the verb remains as it is in the original declarative sentence. One more example:

“My father likes coffee.” – “My father” is the subject NP. By asking “whose?” we put a question to the subject NP, so no does is extracted, “likes” remains as it is:
“Whose father likes coffee?” – direct word order.

In short, when the question is put to the subject noun phrase, the word order remains direct, like in the original declarative sentence, no do/does/did is added to the sentence, and only what's questioned is substituted for a wh-whord.


1 by do/does/did “extraction” I mean the transformation of the synthetic verb forms into analytic ones, e.g.: come → do come, comes → does come, came → did come.

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.