Subject ellipsis in the main clause in Russian and the typology of correlatives

2018. №6, 31-59

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


This paper deals with the Russian words to, tak, no, kak, togda and tut when they are used as correlatives, that is, are linked to a subordinator across the clause boundary (cf. Esli zavtra budet xorošaja pogoda, to my pojdjom guljat’, ‘if the weather is good tomorrow, then we will go for a walk’). It is argued that to, tak, no and kak differ from togda and tut in that they interact with the possibility of subject ellipsis in the main clause: only when they are present in the sentence, is subject ellipsis allowed. The explanation I propose to this fact is based on three assumptions: (i) constructions with togda and tut, but not those with to, tak, no or kak, are a subtype of correlative relative constructions; (ii) to, tak, no and kak, but not togda or tut, serve to raise the degree of semantic and grammatical symmetry between clauses; (iii) symmetry is a factor relevant for ellipsis. The differences that the correlatives under discussion display in the elliptical context can therefore be seen as a manifestation of a more basic distinction between two types of correlatives.

For citation:

Pekelis O. E. Subject ellipsis in the main clause in Russian and its interaction with the typology
of correlatives. Voprosy Jazykoznanija. 2018. No. 6. Pp. 31–59. DOI: 10.31857/S0373658X0002019-9.


This research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanitarian Research,
grant No. 17-04-00517(а).