An experimental investigation of partial control


  • Aaron Steven White
  • Thomas Grano


In Partial Control, the understood subject of an obligatorily controlled complement is construed as properly containing the controlling argument (e.g., John wanted [PRO to gather at noon], where PRO = John and contextually salient others). Since this phenomenon was first systematically described by Landau (2000), many accounts of it have been offered. But some of the diversity in these accounts reflects disagreement over what the facts are. To address this, we use experimental syntax to collect and analyze sentence acceptability judgments that bear on the availability of Partial Control across a wide range of control predicates. Results indicate a substantial amount of gradability in the availability of Partial Control as a function of the choice of control predicate, in a way that depends in part on the predicate’s temporal, aspectual, and modal properties. Although these findings are not fully consistent with any existing approach to Partial Control, we suggest that Pearson’s (2013) approach lays a promising foundation for further research.


How to Cite

White, A. S., & Grano, T. (2019). An experimental investigation of partial control. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 18, 469–486. Retrieved from