Wh-word conjunction as a test for argumenthood and obligatoriness





wh-words, argumenthood, syntax, psycholinguistics


Some wh-words are easier to conjoin than others. For example, it has been noted that adjunct wh-words are easier to conjoin than argument wh-words. We review previous analyses of wh-word conjunction and evaluate them in light of data collected from a new acceptability judgement study. Our study replicates some previous findings but it also adds some new data to the puzzle. We further revisit the idea that wh-word conjunction can be used as a test for argumenthood, and we conclude that it can, with some caveats. In addition, we conclude that wh-word conjunction can be used as a test for obligatoriness, but only in arguments. The test does not distinguish between obligatory and optional adjuncts.

Author Biography

  • Paul B. Melchin, University of Ottawa
    Ph.D. candidate, University of Ottawa, Department of Linguistics




How to Cite

Melchin, Paul B., and Ida Toivonen. 2018. “Wh-Word Conjunction As a Test for Argumenthood and Obligatoriness”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 3 (1): 15:1–11. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4295.