The Case filter is what prohibits the phonetic realization of a DP that recieves no grammatical Case. In languages such as Portuguese, people use impersonal constructions like "há/tem um carro na rua", meaning "there is a car in the street". The verb "haver" (and "ter", nowadays) is impersonal, so the subject is always expletive and null in this language (which is pro-drop).

The problem is: how does the DP "um carro" get its Case to pass the Case filter? It doesn't seem to be receiving accusative Case by the verb, I guess. What is happening in this kind of construction?

  • 1
    Wouldn't it get its case in the same way as "this vehicle is a car"? Or is there a reason it has to be analyzed differently?
    – Draconis
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 17:28
  • Why wouldn’t it be receiving accusative Case by the verb? When replaced by a pronoun, the objective (≈accusative) form is used: “Há carros na rua?” — “Não, não os há”. This matches non-impersonal uses of haver and ter. Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 17:34
  • @JanusBahsJacquet , I'm a portuguese native speaker and I've never seen a phrase like "não os há", it doesn't work at all Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 18:18
  • @Draconis , it is not a copula verb, I don't see why should it work the same way Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 18:19
  • 1
    @ErgativeMan "não os há" does work... E.g: "Precisávamos dos (pregos e dos martelos) mas, não os há". Fairly common in European Portuguese... If its use is uncommon in Brazilian Portuguese it's likely because of the dialect specific phonetic strangeness caused by the last diacritic of the three monosyllable sequence.
    – bad_coder
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 7:27


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