Although all major dialects of English have the "have yet to" construction, recent studies have revealed significant variation in its syntactic properties. Speakers vary with respect to (i) the status of "have" as an auxiliary or main verb, (ii) the status of negation tests, and (iii) the status of a variety of related "yet to" constructions. The goal of this paper is to sort out the microsyntax of "have yet to" across speakers, in the face of contradictory empirical claims and mutually incompatible proposals in the existing literature. The authors develop an analysis based in part on the findings of several wide-scale surveys. They show that speakers who can treat "have" as a main verb can also treat it as an auxiliary, but not necessarily vice versa. They propose that this variation has to do with where the perfect features are introduced in the clause.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
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