Caught in a radio news report this morning, this quote from Barack Obama, with the crucial bit boldfaced:
Obama said of a push for less financial regulation and lower taxes. “And why we would want to adopt something that we just tried and did not work, doesn’t make sense.”
This has a relative clause (that we just tried and did not work) in which a clause with an direct object gap (we just tried ___) is coordinated with a clause with a subject gap (___ did not work) [DO + SU]. As I noted in a Language Log posting on “Amazing conjunctions” back in 2005,
coordination of a clause with an object gap … and a clause with a subject gap … is usually judged ungrammatical, though there’s some question about what condition bars it.
In fact, a 1981 paper of Gerald Gazdar’s (“Unbounded dependencies and coordinate structure”, Linguistic Inquiry 12.155-84) treats such examples as ungrammatical and attempts to give an analysis that predicts that. But examples aren’t hard to find, in writing as well as speech; I myself seem to be given to writing relative clauses with this non-parallel structure.
Some examples, beyond those in my 2005 posting, from my files:
[speech] … something that President Bush supports but has been rejected by the House. [DO + SU] (Carl Kassell on NPR’s Morning Edition 3/28/06)
[writing] but maybe this is a construction that writing teachers have noted and corrected in student writing for decades, but never got turned into an explicit rule in the advice literature. [DO + SU] (AMZ in a posting to ADS-L 4/4/2006)
[writing] Something that both Foerster & Steadman and Kierzek get more or less right, but tends to be downplayed in later advice about the passive, is that how “important” the referent of Y is plays a role in choosing the voice for a clause. [DO + SU] (AMZ in a Language Log posting 7/22/06)
[writing] Coincidentally, I was just remarking to Chuck today that the use of the noun post to denote anything posted to a website is an example of a neologism that I’ve noticed but doesn’t bother me at all. [DO + SU] (Paul Kay in e-mail to me 3/28/07)
[writing] I seem to have mis-read Ron Butters’s posting on the subject, which I read as a j’accuse but was intended as a reductio. [DO + SU] (AMZ to ADS-L 2/7/08)
[writing] A handbook like this is going to be a useful resource… one that’s sensitive but eager readers will refer to again and again for tips, instruction and advice.[SU + PO] (comic strip Preteena 4/25/08, reported to me by Richard Sabey)
[speech; topicalization rather than relative clause] One of them I saw but got away. [DO + SU] (Doug Whitman 7/9/08, as reported by his father Neal on his blog)
[speech] … even the guys that didn’t like me and I didn’t like. [SU + DO] (Sgt. 1st class interviewed on NPR 11/8/09)
[writing] I was wearing something she’d never seen before and thought was really good-looking. [DO + SU] (AMZ in e-mail to friends 6/5/10)
Some speakers judge examples with non-parallel gaps to be unacceptable, others judge them to be of borderline acceptability, and still others find them acceptable, period. In the examples from me above, I produced the sentence first, then realized what its structure was, and on reflection decided that I was content with it as it stood.