Syntax of the focus particle tol’ko i

2019. №2, 7-30

Ahti Nikunlassi.
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland;


The paper proposes a detailed classification of syntactic structures where the focus particle tol’ko i licenses the use of semantically empty words, placeholders and other deviations from more regular syntactic patterns. The syntactic diversity of these structures is given as one of the arguments against treating them as syntactic idioms. The only property common to all of them is that they consist of two parts, and in the beginning of the second part there is a syntactic position that can be filled with either a semantically empty čto, or a complementizer or a wh-pronoun. Comparison of the particles tol’ko and tol’ko i shows that there are considerable differences in their syntactic behavior, some of which are probably related to the differences in their meanings.

For citation:

Nikunlassi A. Syntax of the focus particle tol’ko i. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2019, 2: 7–30.


I am grateful to my colleagues L. A. Birjulin, E. Yu. Protassova and M. V. Kopotev, as well as two anonymous reviewers, for their advices and critical remarks, that I tried to consider in the final version of the paper.