In generative grammar, the A-over-A principle says that if a rule ambiguously refers to A in a structure of the form of (i), the rule must apply to the higher, more inclusive, node A (Chomsky 1964).
(i) ... [A ... [A ... (ii) a I won't forget [NP my trip to [NP Africa ]]. b *Africa, I won't forget my trip to c my trip to Africa, I won't forget
More recently, the A-over-A principle has been reduced to principles such as the ECP.
- Chomsky, Noam A. 1964. Current issues in linguistic theory. The Hague: Mouton.
- Ross, J.R. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax. Doctoral dissertation. MIT (published as Infinite syntax! Ablex, Norwood 1986).