Russian èto in wh-questions


  • Aldan Yerbalanov National Research University Higher School of Economics image/svg+xml
  • Tatiana Philippova National Research University Higher School of Economics image/svg+xml


wh-questions, focus particles, clefts, non-standard questions


This paper deals with the semantic and syntactic analysis of the particle-like element èto in wh-questions, which occurs either preceding the fronted wh-pronoun or following it, the two options being available under slightly different pragmatic conditions, although resulting in similar interpretations. We compare these instances of èto to those occurring in cleft-like sentences, which have received most of the attention in the generative literature, and conclude that they are essentially the same creature, namely, an adverb adjoining to a clausal projection above the TP. Our analysis is informed by the interpretation of the relevant sentences in Russian and by parallels existing between èto and other focus-sensitive particles in Russian, Czech, and Polish.




How to Cite

Yerbalanov, A., and T. Philippova. “Russian èto in Wh-Questions”. Journal of Slavic Linguistics, vol. 31, no. FASL 30 issue, Dec. 2023,



FASL proceedings 2021