home edit page issue tracker

This page pertains to UD version 2.

xcomp: open clausal complement

An open clausal complement (xcomp) of a verb or an adjective is a predicative or clausal complement without its own subject. The reference of the subject is necessarily determined by an argument external to the xcomp (normally by the object of the next higher clause, if there is one, or else by the subject of the next higher clause). This is often referred to as obligatory control. These clauses tend to be non-finite in many languages, but they can be finite as well. The name xcomp is borrowed from Lexical-Functional Grammar.

Dois árbitros resolveram contar todos os podres.
xcomp(resolveram, contar)
Os três continentes mais obstinados em cortar o reinado de Havelange.
xcomp(obstinados, cortar)
Volpi foi dos mais influentes pintores do país.
xcomp(foi, pintores)
Disse que não conseguia vislumbrar artifícios fraudulentos.
xcomp(conseguia, vislumbrar)
ccomp(Disse, conseguia)
Mas me considero um piloto rápido.
xcomp(considero, piloto)
Nós esperamos que eles mudem de idéia.
xcomp(esperamos, mudem)

Note that the above condition “without its own subject” does not mean that a clause is an xcomp just because its subject is not overt. The subject must be necessarily inherited from a fixed position in the higher clause. That is, there should be no available interpretation where the subject of the lower clause may be distinct from the specified role of the upper clause. In cases where the missing subject may or must be distinct from a fixed role in the higher clause, ccomp should be used instead, as below. This includes cases of arbitrary subjects and anaphoric control.

O chefe disse para começar a cavar.
ccomp(disse, começar)

Pro-drop languages, as Portuguese, have clauses where the subject is not present as a separate word, yet it is inherently present (and often deducible from the form of the verb) and it does not depend on arguments from a higher clause.

O tomate foi projetado para manter o sabor
advcl(projetado, manter)
Os empresários abriram mão de posições históricas , eventualmente visando sua proteção , para construir e defender idéias
nsubj(abriram, empresários)
advcl(abriram, visando)
advcl(abriram, construir)
conj(construir, defender)

Secondary Predicates

The xcomp relation is also used in constructions that are known as secondary predicates or predicatives. Examples:

We could paraphrase the sentence using a subordinate clause: Ela declarou que o bolo estava lindo. There are two predicates mixed in one clause: 1. ela declarou algo, and 2. o bolo estava lindo (segundo ela). The secondary predicate will be attached to the main predicate as an xcomp:

Ela declarou o bolo lindo .
nsubj(declarou, Ela)
obj(declarou, bolo)
xcomp(declarou, lindo)
nsubj(lindo, bolo)

In the enhanced representation, there is an additional subject link showing the secondary predication (bolo is the subject of lindo.

Remember that xcomp is used for core arguments of clausal predicates so it will not be used for other instances of secondary predication. For instance, in Ela entrou na sala triste we also have a double predication (ela entrou na sala; ela estava triste). But triste is not a core argument of entrar: leaving it out will neither affect grammaticality nor significantly alter the meaning of the verb. On the other hand, leaving out lindo in ela declarou o bolo lindo will either render the sentence ungrammatical or lead to a different interpretation of declarou.

The result is that in Ela entrou na sala triste, triste will depend on Ela and the relation will be acl instead of xcomp.


xcomp in other languages: [bg] [bm] [cop] [cs] [de] [el] [en] [es] [eu] [fi] [fr] [fro] [ga] [gsw] [hy] [it] [kk] [no] [pa] [pcm] [pt] [ru] [sv] [swl] [tr] [u] [yue] [zh]