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A shortened form of "constituent command." The term may also have been chosen so as to eliminate confusion in speech with the similar notion kommand.[1]


c-command (uncountable)

  1. (syntax) The relationship between a node in a parse tree and its sibling nodes (usually meaning the children of the first branching node that dominates the node) and all the sibling nodes' children.
    • 1988, Andrew Radford, chapter 10, in Transformational grammar: a first course, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, page 564:
         Given the key assumption of Trace Theory that a moved constituent leaves behind a coindexed trace, we might formulate the relevant principle that transformations cannot downgrade constituents in terms of an equivalent condition that a moved constituent cannot occupy a lower position than any of its traces. This principle might be stated more formally as in (85) below
      (85)      C-COMMAND CONDITION
      (85)      A moved constituent must c-command ( = constituent-command)
      (85)      each of its traces at S-structure (X c-commands Y just in case the
      (85)      first branching node dominating X dominates Y, and neither X
      (85)      nor Y dominates the other)


c-command (third-person singular simple present c-commands, present participle c-commanding, simple past and past participle c-commanded)

  1. (syntax, transitive) To dominate in a c-command relationship.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keshet, Ezra (2004-05-20), “24.952 Syntax Squib”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[1], MIT
  • 1976 Reinhart, Tanya M. The Syntactic Domain of Anaphora. (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). (Available online at http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/16400).
  • 1997 William O'Grady, Michael Dobrovolsky, and Mark Aronoff, Contemporary Linguistics. Bedford/St. Martin's. (third edition).
  • Liliane Haegeman (1994) Introduction to Government and Binding Theory, 2nd edition, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, page 137
  • Carnie, Andrew (2002) Syntax: A Generative Introduction, 1 edition, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, page 77
  • 2002 Harris, C. L. and Bates, E. A. 'Clausal backgrounding and pronominal reference: A functionalist approach to c-command'. Language and Cognitive Processes 17(3):237-269.

Further reading[edit]