Thomas Grano

Thomas Grano
Assistant Professor
Department of Linguistics
Indiana University

Ballantine Hall 855
Bloomington, IN 47405-7005

tgrano at indiana dot edu

Broad research interests: semantics, syntax, syntax-semantics interface, crosslinguistic variation and universals, Chinese linguistics
Narrow research interests: attitude reports, control, nonfinite complementation, tense and aspect, modality, event semantics, gradability and comparison 

 Brief research bio  I am interested in the relationship between meaning and form, and how this relationship can and cannot vary from one language to the next. Most of my research lately deals in some way or another with nonfinite complementation and its cross-linguistic kin. My 2015 Oxford University Press book Control and Restructuring is a progress report, focusing on high-level cross-linguistic generalizations across semantic families of embedding verbs and making sense of these generalizations in a highly articulated Cinque-style architecture for the syntactic encoding of various kinds of modal and aspectual categories. My current work deals with many of the same questions, but with greater focus on the fine-grained semantics of particular verbs and how they interact compositionally with their complements to yield particular kinds of semantic and syntactic effects. Some of my driving questions are: (1) What do nonfinite-complement-taking verbs like wanttrymanageintendbegin and persuade denote and how do they interact compositionally with the denotations of their nonfinite complements? (2) What can we learn about the meanings of these verbs by manipulating the syntactic shapes of their complements and observing how these manipulations affect the acceptability and/or truth conditions of the relevant sentences? (3) How much uniformity is there from one language to the next in the syntactic behavior of these verbs, and to what extent does the observed syntactic uniformity reflect semantic uniformity in how different languages lexicalize the relevant concepts and integrate them compositionally into the sentences they inhabit?

Recent work / Work in progress

Belief, intention, and the grammar of persuasion. Paper presented at Chicago Linguistic Society 54, April 2018. [Handout] [Proceedings submission]

Choice functions in intensional contexts: Rehabilitating Bäuerle's challenge to the scope theory of intensionality. Poster presented at West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics 36, UCLA, April 2018. [Poster] [Proceedings submission]

Getting aspectual -guo under control in Mandarin Chinese: An experimental investigation. (With Yiwen Zhang.) Paper presented at North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics 30, Columbus, OH, March 2018. [Handout] [Proceedings submission]

Getting the progressive under control: Mandarin vs. English. 
Paper presented at North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics 30, Columbus, OH, March 2018. [Handout] [Proceedings submission]


In preparation/Forthcoming 2020.
Attitude Reports. Cambridge University Press, "Key Topics in Semantics and Pragmatics" series.

Control and Restructuring. Oxford University Press. [Link to publisher's page] (See also Marcello Modesto's review in Language and Jinglian Li's review in Journal of Linguistics.)

2013. (With John R. Rickford, Julie Sweetland, and Angela E. Rickford.) African American, Creole, and Other Vernacular Englishes in Education: A Bibliographic Resource. National Council of Teachers of English-Routledge Research Series. [Link to publisher's page]

Journal articles

2018. How to neutralize a finite clause boundary: Phase theory and the grammar of bound pronouns. (With Howard Lasnik.) Linguistic Inquiry 49(3):465–499. doi:

2018. Universal markedness in gradable adjectives revisited: The morpho-semantics of the positive form in Arabic. (With Stuart Davis.) Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 36(1):131–147. doi: 10.1007/s11049-017-9365-0 [Free access link (read only)] [Prepublication version]

2017. Control, temporal orientation, and the cross-linguistic grammar of tryingGlossa: a journal of general linguistics 2(1):94.1-21, doi:

2017. What partial control might not tell us about agreement: A reply to Landau.
Syntax 20:400-413doi: 10.1111/synt.12144. [August 2016 draft]

2017. Finiteness contrasts without Tense? A view from Mandarin Chinese. 
Journal of East Asian Linguistics 26:259-299. [Free access link (read only)] [Prepublication version] [Handout for a related talk]

2017. The logic of intention reports. 
Journal of Semantics 34:587-632doi: 10.1093/jos/ffx010 [Free access link] [Prepublication version] [Handout for a related talk]

2012. Mandarin Transitive Comparatives and the Grammar of Measurement. (With Chris Kennedy.) Journal of East Asian Linguistics 21:219-266. [Springer link[Prepublication version]

2011. Mandarin hen and Universal Markedness in Gradable Adjectives. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 30:513-565. 
[Springer link[Prepublication version

2011. Scale structure, coercion, and the interpretation of measure phrases in Japanese. (With Osamu Sawada.) Natural Language Semantics 19:191-226. 
[Springer link] [Prepublication version

Contributions to edited volumes

2017. Restructuring at the syntax-semantics interface. In Infinitives at the syntax-semantics interface: A diachronic perspective (Lukasz Jedrzejowski and Ulrike Demske, eds.) Mouton de Gruyter Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs series. [
Prepublication version] [Link to publisher's page]

Conference proceedings papers

2016. Control, logophoricity, and harmonic modality in Gengbe desire reports. (With Samson Lotven.) Paper presented at Sinn und Bedeutung 21 in Edinburgh, September 2016. [
Handout] [Proceedings submission]

2015. Semantic consequences of syntactic subject licensing: Aspectual predicates and concealed modality. Paper presented at Sinn und Bedeutung 20 in Tübingen, September 2015. [
Handout] [Proceedings submission]

2015. A coercion-free semantics for intention reports. Paper presented at 
51st Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. [Handout] [Proceedings submission]

2015. Getting your to-do list under control: Imperative semantics and the grammar of intending. 
In Bui, T. and D. Özyildiz (eds.) Proceedings of the forty-fifth annual meeting of the North East Linguistic Society vol. 1, 241–252. [Proceedings submission]

2014. An experimental investigation of partial control. (With Aaron Steven White.) In Etxeberria, U., A. Falaus and B. Leferman (eds.) Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 18:469-486. [
Semantics Archives pdf link] [Link for accessing materials, raw data and analysis files]

2011. Mental action and event structure in the semantics of try. In Ashton, N., A. Chereches and D. Lutz (eds.) Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 21:426-443. [
eLanguage link]

Dissertations and Theses

2012. Control and restructuring at the syntax-semantics interface. PhD dissertation, University of Chicago. [

2006. "Me and her" meets "he and I": Case, person, and linear ordering in English coordinated pronouns. B.A. honors thesis, Stanford University. [

Miscellaneous handouts, posters, conference abstracts, and unpublished manuscripts

2016. Two sources of grammatical deviance in non-controlled nonfinite subjects. Paper presented at NonFinite Subjects Conference in Nantes, France, April 2016. [Handout]

2016. Severing the external argument from the aspectual verb. (With Brandon Rhodes.) Poster presented at LSA Annual Meeting, January 2016. [

2015. Control without finiteness contrasts: Aspect and complement size in Mandarin Chinese. ms., Indiana University. [pdf] [
Handout for a related talk]

2012. Wanting (to have) null verbs: A view from Mandarin and beyond. Paper presented at LSA Annual Meeting, January 2012. [
Abstract] [Handout]

2011. Exhaustive control is not control: Cinque's IP and the raising/control divide. Paper presented at Colloque de Syntaxe et Sémantique à Paris, September 2011. [

2011. Aspect under (and out of) control in Mandarin Chinese. LSA Annual Meeting Extended Abstract. [
eLanguage link]