The number sensitivity of modal indefinites


  • Jess H. K. Law


In this study, I take up the interaction between modal flavor and the number morphology of existential wh-indefinites in Mandarin, a phenomenon first discussed in Lin (1998). I argue that there are three essential theoretical pieces to this interaction: (i) types of nominal reference (quantized vs. cumulative), (ii) degrees of modal variation (total vs. partial), and (iii) achieving modal variation by exhaustification. I show that while exhaustifying alternatives contributed by quantized wh-indefinites may give rise to either total or partial modal variation, exhaustifying alternatives contributed by cumulative wh-indefinites may only give rise to partial modal variation.


How to Cite

Law, J. H. K. (2019). The number sensitivity of modal indefinites. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 21(2), 785–800. Retrieved from