The aim of the paper is to explore three apparently unrelated phenomena, i.e. syllabic consonants, vowel syncope and bogus clusters and provide convincing evidence for their intimate relationship. Specifically, it is pointed out that all three phenomena have the same origin and stem from the expansionist behaviour of sonorants, which in turn is a reaction of the latter to a positional weakness. The author argues that a unified solution for the three structures is possible on condition that in English lexically present nuclei are never properly governed even by the strongest governors, that is, realised vowels. As a result the analysis contributes to the postulation of the governing-ability scale for different types of nuclei in English.