This study offers a new theory of verb movement parametrization. The author
proposes to look upon verb movement as an operation that the verb undertakes
in order to project one or more of its features. It is no longer a movement to
a prefabricated position but a structure-creating operation. Output conditions
require that properties such as rich agreement and tense must be visible in
a particular structural position. In this light, two conditions are formulated in
order to capture the operations commonly known as V to I movement and V
to C movement. Independently motivated properties of a particular language,
however, can cause a condition to be satisfied without verb movement taking
place. This explains the well-known observation that the position of the finite verb
in a declarative clause is subject to significant cross-linguistic differences. In some
languages, such as Dutch and German, the position of the finite verb is not the
same in main and embedded clauses. An important consequence of the analysis is
that languages differ in the amount of structure that they generate in overt syntax.
The cross-linguistic distribution of expletives offers strong support for this claim.
The Flexible Nature of Verb Movement is of interest to any scholar studying word
order variation and parameter theory. Since the theory is developed against the
background of central issues and problems in modern theoretical linguistics, it
should appeal to syntacticians in general.