Pronoun ETO as a means of modifying truth value (a case study of ESLI P, ETO Q ‘if p, it is q’ construction)

2016. №5, 49-78

Olga E. Pekelis
Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation;


In this paper a semantic and syntactic analysis is provided of a biclausal construction containing the pronoun eto (‘it’) in Russian, where eto is anaphorically bound by a prepositive adverbial clause (cf.: Esli svetit solnce, eto horošo, lit. ‘If the sun shines, it is good’). It is argued that this construction serves to modify the truth value of the proposition which enters the construction twice (first, as an adverbial clause, and then as an eto-pronoun). The very possibility of this modification is shown to be linked to the inherent properties of the construction’s basic components, that is, of the conjunction introducing the adverbial clause and the eto-pronoun. The suggested analysis helps to explain the formal properties of the construction in question, in particular, the range of conjunctions and matrix predicates allowed.