From Glottopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Theta-position is an A-position to which a theta-role is assigned.


In John buys the apples both the arguments John and the apples are in a theta-position being theta-marked as Agent and Theme. But the verb seems in (i) does not assign a theta-role to its grammatical subject John. Therefore, the matrix subject position, although an A-position, is not a theta-position.

(i) John seems [ti to have left]

The positions in (i) containing John and its trace ti are both A-positions, but only the position of the trace is a theta-position. An A-position to which no theta-role is assigned (such as the one in (i) which is taken by John) is called a theta-bar position (theta'-position). Another name for theta-bar position is non-theta position.

See also



  • Chomsky, N. 1986a. Knowledge of language: its nature, origin and use, Praeger, New York.
  • Chomsky, N. 1981. Lectures on Government and Binding, Foris, Dordrecht.

CAT This article needs proper categorization. You can help Glottopedia by categorizing it
Please do not remove this block until the problem is fixed.