Two Types of there-sentences and Feature Specification

Chorong Kang 1 ,
Author Information & Copyright
1Seoul National University
*Corresponding Author : Lecturer, Department of Linguistics Seoul National University Building 5-308, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-Gu, Seoul 08826, Korea, E-mail:

ⓒ Copyright 2019 Language Education Institute, Seoul National University. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Mar 04, 2019 ; Revised: Jul 02, 2019 ; Accepted: Jul 30, 2019

Published Online: Aug 31, 2019


This paper aimed to account for unexpected accusative case on a pronominal associate in there-sentences (there was him). It is unexpected that under the long-standing assumption in generative grammar, agreement coincides with case assignment. Since there-associates appear to agree with T in number (e.g. there was/*were a dog), they are expected to be valued as nominative case. Furthermore, such a pronominal associate with accusative case is not available in there-V type sentences (*there arrived him). In this paper, I propose a multiple-there hypothesis to account for different behaviors of there-V and there-BE. In the proposal, I argue that there-s in there-V and there-BE are base-generated in different positions due to their different “grammatical roles” (semantically null expletive vs. subject argument). Based on the distinction, I further argue that there-s have different feature specifications and show that the proposed system captures different behaviors between there-sentences with respect to sub-extraction and control.

Keywords: there-sentences; feature specification; pronominal associate; long-distance agreement; accusative case



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