On the x’ invisibility myth: Analyzing restrictions on intermediate projections

Gerardo Fernández-Salgueiro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The X’ Invisibility Principle claims that intermediate (X’) levels of phrase structure are unavailable for syntactic computation (see especially Chomsky 1995). Evidence for this principle comes from the fact that X’ constituents resist operations such as movement and ellipsis and cannot be used as segment fragments. In this paper I argue that this principle is problematic on both conceptual and empirical grounds. I claim that movement restrictions are readily accounted for by Extension and Chain Uniformity, while restrictions on ellipsis and sentence fragments can be explained in terms of selectional features and the nature of syntactic projections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalTaiwan Journal of Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Ellipsis
  • Movement
  • Projection
  • Selectional features
  • Sentence fragments
  • X’ invisibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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