A unified treatment of the exceptions to the Agent/ECM Correlation

Yuki Ito


Based on the contrast between the believe-class and the wager-class verbs, Pesetsky (1992) makes a generalization that agentive verbs do not allow ECM (the Agent/ECM Correlation). However, he notes two classes of exceptions to the generalization. I argue that the two classes of exceptions can be uniformly treated as causatives and that the Agent/ECM Correlation can be seen as an instance of the broader l-syntax finding that “not all internal arguments are created equal”–with agentive activity verbs the root selects an internal argument, but not with change-of-state verbs (Basilico 1998, Hale and Keyser 2002, Alexiadou and Schäfer 2011, Cuervo 2014).


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Pesetsky, David. 1992. Zero syntax part 2. http://web.mit.edu/linguistics/people/faculty/pesetsky/infins.pdf (17

March, 2015.)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.3003