Connecting the Gaps
Posted by Neal on April 14, 2005
The four of us went to the Statehouse yesterday for an autism-awareness rally, and what should one of the speakers do but coordinate a clause containing a subject gap with a clause containing an object gap. Yes, that’s right; she said:
…and the kids I don’t actually serve but are here today.
The first clause, I don’t actually serve contains the object gap, i.e., the missing direct object after serve. The second one, are here today, contains a subject gap, i.e., the understood subject for are. It stuck out at me because Arnold Zwicky recently remarked on how these coordinations are often considered ungrammatical (indeed, they often are ungrammatical), but sometimes turn up anyway, and don’t sound half bad. The above example sounded pretty good, in fact. Certainly not like this example that Zwicky comments on (coordination in bold, with gaps indicated by brackets):
So for people who I’m not going to give  a cox-2 and  also have a history of ulcers, the way around it is to take the anti-inflammatory and make it into a cream.
No, my example is more like this other of Zwicky’s examples, which goes through much better:
New Mexico, which the president leads  but  was still uncalled as of noon Wednesday…
In all these examples, I personally would tend to put a(nother) who(m) or which before the second clause, so that I’m coordinating two relative clauses instead of two clauses inside a single relative clause. How would you do it?