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 subject of the next higher clause). This is often referred to as obligatory control. These complements are always non-finite, and they are complements (arguments of the higher verb or adjective) rather than adjuncts/modifiers, such as a purpose clause. The name xcomp is borrowed from Lexical-Functional Grammar.

Хочешь плавать ? \n Do-you-want to-swim ?
xcomp(Хочешь, плавать)
xcomp(Do-you-want, to-swim)
Я начал там работать вчера . \n I started there to-work yesterday .
xcomp(начал, работать)
xcomp(started, to-work)

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.

Начальник приказал выкопать ров . \n Boss ordered to-dig ditch .
ccomp(приказал, выкопать)
ccomp(ordered, to-dig)

Pro-drop languages 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. Thus in neither of the following two Russian examples is there any overt subject, yet only the second example contains an xcomp.

Пишу , потому что я это обещал . \n I-write , because that I-have it promised .
advcl(Пишу, обещал)
advcl(I-write, promised)
Я обещал писать . \n I have-promised to-write .
xcomp(обещал, писать)
xcomp(have-promised, to-write)

Verbs that attach core arguments that are often expressed as nouns, adjectives and other nominals, mostly in instrumental and sometimes nominative case, include: являться “be“, становиться/стать “became“, оказаться “turn up“, остаться “remain“, служить “serve (as)“, работать “work, be employed (as)“. The transitive verbs such as назвать “call“, объявить “declare“, считать “consider“, назначить “appoint“ have secondary predicates as its third valency.

Secondary Predicates

The xcomp relation is also used in constructions that assign secondary predicates such as depictive.

We could paraphrase the sentence using a subordinate clause: She declared that the cake was beautiful. There are two predicates mixed in one clause: 1. she declared something, and 2. the cake was beautiful (according to her opinion). The secondary predicate will be attached to the main predicate as an xcomp:

Она объявила пирог красивым . \n She declared the cake beautiful .
nsubj(объявила, Она)
nsubj(declared, She)
obj(объявила, пирог)
obj(declared, cake)
xcomp(объявила, красивым)
xcomp(declared, beautiful)

In the enhanced representation, there is an additional subject link showing the secondary predication:

Она объявила пирог красивым . \n She declared the cake beautiful .
nsubj(объявила, Она)
nsubj(declared, She)
obj(объявила, пирог)
obj(declared, cake)
xcomp(declared, beautiful)
xcomp(объявила, красивым)
nsubj(красивым, пирог)
nsubj(beautiful, cake)

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 She entered the room sad we also have a double predication (she entered the room; she was sad). But sad is not a core argument of enter: leaving it out will neither affect grammaticality nor significantly alter the meaning of the verb. On the other hand, leaving out beautiful in she declared the cake beautiful will either render the sentence ungrammatical or lead to a different interpretation of declared.

The result is that in She entered the room sad, sad will depend on She 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]