This paper discusses the syntax of the have yet to construction in English, as in John has yet to eat dinner. As pointed out by Kelly (2008), this construction raises a number of questions. How is the NPI yet licensed? Why is have interpreted as a perfect auxiliary verb, in spite of the fact that it appears to take an infinitival complement, rather than a perfect participle? We argue that have in the have yet to construction is, for many speakers, perfect have, which selects for a silent raising predicate that has negative implicative semantics. This predicate, which we identify as a silent counterpart of fail, is responsible for licensing the NPI yet. We propose that FAILED is made silent as a result of yet moving into its specifier (invoking Koopman’s (1996) Generalized Doubly-filled COMP filter). This same movement accounts for yet’s unusual word-order behavior in the have yet to construction.
Myler, Neil and Harves, Stephanie
"Movement and Silence in the English have yet to Construction,"
University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics:
1, Article 27.
Available at: http://repository.upenn.edu/pwpl/vol20/iss1/27