Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Zero Anaphora

Definition: 

Zero anaphora is the use of a gap, in a phrase or clause, that has an anaphoric function similar to a pro-form.

It is often described as “referring back” to an expression that supplies the information necessary for interpreting the gap.

Examples: 
  • There are two roads to eternity , a straight and narrow, and a broad and crooked.
  • In this sentence, the gaps in a straight and narrow [gap], and a broad and crooked [gap] have a zero anaphoric relationship to two roads to eternity.
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