Singular count pseudo-partitives

  • Julian Grove


Inversion-constructions, like too tasty of a cake and a disaster of a conference, have generally been treated separately from superficially similar-looking pseudo-partitives, like three gallons of water. I argue for an analysis that unifies the syntax and semantics of the two constructions through a proposal about the head of that appears in both. Both constructions involve the composition of two properties: one is contributed by the head noun; the other is contributed by the modifier, i.e., the measure-phrase in pseudo-partitives and the noun phrase or degree phrase in inversion-constructions. Moreover, while pseudo-partitives involve the composition of two properties of individuals, inversion-constructions involve the composition of two properties of states. A single semantic constraint—non-divisiveness of the property denoted by the modifier—is seen to play a role in both types of constructions, and, in particular, to predict both the monotonicity of modifiers in pseudo-partitives and the gradability of modifiers in inversion-constructions.
How to Cite
Grove, J. (1). Singular count pseudo-partitives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 19, 268-285.