A Compositional Analysis for Subset Comparatives


  • Helena Aparicio Terrasa


Subset comparatives (Grant 2013) are amount comparatives in which there exists a set membership relation between the target and the standard of comparison. This paper argues that subset comparatives should be treated as regular phrasal comparatives with an added resuppositional component. More specifically, subset comparatives presuppose that: a) the standard has the property denoted by the target; and b) the standard has the property denoted by the matrix predicate. In the account developed below, the presuppositions of subset comparatives result from the compositional principles independently required to interpret those phrasal comparatives in which the standard is syntactically contained inside the target. Presuppositions are usually taken to be licensed by certain lexical items (presupposition triggers). However, subset comparatives show that presuppositions can also arise as a result of semantic composition. This finding suggests that the grammar possesses more than one way of licensing these inferences. Further research will have to determine how productive this latter strategy is in natural languages.


How to Cite

Aparicio Terrasa, H. (2019). A Compositional Analysis for Subset Comparatives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 18, 24–41. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/302