An analysis of the semantic variability of weak adjuncts and its problems

  • Sarah Zobel


This paper addresses the question of how to account for the semantic variability of weak free adjuncts. Weak free adjuncts are non-clausal adjuncts that associate with an argument of the main predicate, contribute propositional content, and can interact with temporal or modal operators, which leads to different, adverbial-clause-like interpretations. I focus on a specific type of weak adjuncts, non-clausal as-phrases, and propose a unified semantic analysis for the full range of interpretational possibilities that takes into account the interpretational contingency on different syntactic positions. I show that this analysis improves on Stump’s (1985) original analysis of weak adjuncts. I then go on to discuss the limitations of both Stump’s account and the unified account. Both accounts fail to capture that the interaction of weak adjuncts with modal operators underlies certain restrictions on the properties of the modal operators—an observation that has not been discussed in the literature so far.
How to Cite
Zobel, S. (2019). An analysis of the semantic variability of weak adjuncts and its problems. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 22(2), 499-516. Retrieved from