Kim Schulte University of Exeter, UK [email protected] The case of overt agents in infinitival clauses in English and Ibero-Romance: origins and explanations Both English and the Ibero-Romance languages are, from a cross-linguistic perspective, unusual in that they allow infinitival clauses to contain an overtly present agent phrase. In addition to some mismatches in the distribution of this construction, the most significant difference is the morphological case the agent takes: whilst it appears in the object case in English, it is assigned subject case in Ibero-Romance, as shown in the following contrastive example: (1) English: For meOBJ to understand, you’ll have to show it to me. (2) Portuguese: Para euSBJ compreender, terás de mo mostrar. While such constructions have received much attention within synchronically oriented syntactic frameworks, this paper investigates their emergence and diachronic evolution, attempting to determine the causes underlying their differential development. It is argued that both constructions have evolved as a result of structural reanalysis within complex sentences, but that the syntactic structures from which they originated were radically different; in Ibero-Romance, the possibility of null-subjects and the comparatively free word order, exploited for contrastive focus, made it possible for the main clause’s subject to be reanalysed as the subject of the dependent infinitive, whereas it is the complete prepositional phrase that is reanalysed as being part of the infinitival clause in English.