Sentences like That’s a beautiful dress you’re wearing are commonly heard in colloquial English. These sentences have a surface form that resembles identificational copular sentences with relative clause modifiers (e.g., This is the house I mentioned) and cleft sentences with demonstrative subjects (e.g., That was John that I saw). Ever since Higgins’s (1973) seminal work, English copular sentences have received much attention, but sentences like That’s a beautiful dress you’re wearing have not been part of that discussion. In this squib, I show how these sentences are both similar and dissimilar to identificationals and clefts, and suggest a formal analysis that captures their characteristic properties.
- Copular sentences
- Relative clauses