Senior Project Advisor

Denham, Kristin E., 1967-

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2004


Syntactic theory, Coordination, Conjunction


The analysis of coordination (and especially the structure of coordination) is a matter of dispute within syntactic theory. Prior to the 1980s, coordination was largely ignored by the syntactic field. Syntacticians have yet to reach a consensus with regard to the structure and properties of coordination. It's rather remarkable that an element as basic to language as coordination (in English, coordination can be signaled by "and," "or," and "but") has been largely ignored within linguistics except by semanticists. The most extensive analyses put forth at this point are those of Jose Camacho (1997, 2003) and Janne Bondi Johannessen (1998).

In this paper, I have limited my focus to the structure of the coordination of NPs in English using the conjunction and. The terminology involved in discussions of coordination requires clarification. I will use "conjunct" to refer to the entity being conjoined. For example, in a NP such as Bert and Ernie, Bert is the first conjunct, and Ernie is the second conjunct. I will use "conjunction" to refer to either the lexical item signaling a coordinate structure (such as and), or to refer to the entire phrase (i.e. Bert and Ernie is a conjunction).

I consider here proposals of structure by Goodall ( 1987), Johannessen ( 1999) and Camacho ( 1997, 2003 ). Although I do not adopt Camacho's analysis 1 , I do make use of his basic tree structure. None of the proposals put forth at this time are entirely sufficient or satisfactory, though I do conclude that Camacho's structure is the most satisfactory. The continued investigation of this under-examined area of grammar is necessary in order to clarify and conclusively define what the properties of coordination are.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Grammar, Comparative and general--Coordinate constructions; Grammar, comparative and general--Syntax


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