Can someone help me with the analysis of copular or linking verbs in X-bar theory. What would be the position of subject in sentences like "Mary is beautiful". Is "Mary" the theme of adjectival predicate "beautiful" or the theme of "be" verb is? See the X-bar trees.

two potential trees for 'Mary is beautiful'

I guess it makes more sense for it to be the theme of adjective (Fig 2).

  • 1
    Riyaz, welcome to Linguistics SE! Unfortunately it was decided to rule out requests for syntax trees. However, you can edit your question to provide your own syntax tree, your take on it, and ask where you have doubts and/or to correct your try. :) Thank you.
    – Alenanno
    Nov 22, 2014 at 13:30
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    @Alenanno, see if it is appropriate now. Let me know if you want me to add some more details. I have a deadline, so couldn't write much.
    – Riyaz
    Nov 22, 2014 at 16:38
  • What framework are you using? It seems odd to me to require Mary to be a complement. Why does it have to have moved?
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 23, 2014 at 2:19
  • @curiousdannii I am interested in its analysis in GB. Spec of IP is not the default position of subjects, they move to that position to get case. My question is about the default position of NP subject Mary. I haven't seen much trees on these kind of simple sentences. If you guys could suggest me any reading, I will be happy with that.
    – Riyaz
    Nov 23, 2014 at 4:47
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    I don't think this analysis can be correct. Note that "heavy smoker" is a perfectly well-formed NP with an AP modifier, but "Smoker is heavy" and "The smoker is heavy" are both bad. Movement of an NP to the exclusion of its modifier is also disallowed elsewhere in English, e.g. "What did Mary buy a red t?" (bad). I don't know what the standard GB analysis of copulars is -- look at Liliane Haegeman's GB theory textbook.
    – P Elliott
    Nov 23, 2014 at 10:03


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