Syntax


Types of movement: A summary


Note that there are certain restrictions on movement. For example, heads can only move to head-positions (e.g. INFL-to-COMP movement, Verb-to-INFL movement). This type of movement is called head movement (or head-to-head movement).
Phrasal constituents (i.e. complete XPs) can only move to phrasal positions. A typical position that can serve as a "landing site" for moved phrasal constituents is the specifier position. In the previous sections we have introduced two types of movement that affects phrasal constituents.

(1) Movement of WH-elements
In the example What will Anne buy? the wh-element what represents a phrase (DP) and moves from the complement position in VP to the specifier of CP. Movement of WH-elements to the specifier of CP is called WH-movement.

(2) Subject movement
In the example Anne will buy a new car the subject Anne is a DP that is base-generated in the specifier of VP and moves to the specifier of IP. Subject movement (and some other types of movement, such as movement in passives or raising, which will not be treated here) is referred to as argument movement, since it affects one of the verbal arguments.

For more details on movement in questions and for other types of movement (e.g. passive, raising) please refer to the module Syntactic Theory.


Exercises on Movement