Verb raising

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Verb raising is a verb movement to V, which has been posited for infinitival verbs in German and Dutch. The hypothesis is that the verb of an infinitival complement, if the complement is not in extraposition, is moved and adjoined to its governing verb, thereby creating a verb-cluster.


Dutch Verb Raising creates the structure in (i)b (assuming the SOV d-structure in (i)a).

(i) a  dat Jan [VP [VP hard werken1] willen2] heeft
       that Jan hard work  want-to has
    b  dat Jan [VP [VP hard t1] t2] heeft willen2 werken1
       'that Jan has wanted to work hard'

As shown, the linear order of verbs in d-structure is reversed in s-structure (or PF) (in Dutch but not in German). A characteristic anomaly of the resulting verb cluster in (i)b is the IPP phenomenon: we find what looks like the infinitival willen instead of the participle gewild. It is a point of ongoing debate whether verb raising is actual movement or that verb clusters are base-generated.



  • Bierwisch, M. 1990. Verb cluster formation as a morphological process, Yearbook of Morphology,
  • Evers, A. 1975. The transformational cycle in Dutch and German, diss. Utrecht University, distr. by IULC.
  • Kerstens,J.G. 1993. The Syntax of Number, Person and Gender; A Theory of Phi-features, Linguistic Models 18, Mouton de Gruyter:Berlin/New York.
  • Rutten, J. 1991. Infinitival Complements and Auxiliaries, Diss, UvA, Amsterdam.

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