Used in syntax, a relationship between nodes on a tree. A node X c-commands a node Y if and only if the node that immediately dominates X also dominates Y, and neither X nor Y dominates the other. (Or, put another way, "a node c-commands its sisters and nieces.")

     Z
    / \
   X   Y
      / \
     P   Q

Here,
  • X c-commands Y, P, and Q
  • Y c-commands X
  • P c-commands Q
  • Q c-commands P
This relationship is extremely important to theories of government and binding.

See linguistics metanode, Principle A, Principle B, Principle C.

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