Moment of Change, Cessation Implecatures and Simultaneous Readings


  • Daniel Altshuler
  • Roger Schwarzschild


This paper makes a hypothesis about the truth of a stative clause at a moment explicit: if a tenseless stative clause ? is true at moment m, then there is a moment m' preceding m at which ? is true and there is a moment m' following m at which ? is true. We show how this hypothesis underwrites the entailment from PRES-? to PAST-? and use this fact to derive a cessation implicature: the utterance of PAST-? implicates that no state of the kind described currently holds. Our analysis makes use of an existential quantifier for tense with a domain restriction variable over reference time concepts. We predict the presence of a cessation implicature in matrix and embedded clauses when the reference time concept does not—by itself—make PRES-? false. We also predict that the choice between an indexical versus a relative PRES in an embedded clause affects whether a cessation inference is found with an embedded PAST. We show how this prediction is borne out when we compare English to Hebrew and, in light of this comparison, discuss the traditional claim that, English—unlike Hebrew—has a ‘vacuous’ PAST that correlates with a so-called ‘simultaneous reading’.


How to Cite

Altshuler, D., & Schwarzschild, R. (2019). Moment of Change, Cessation Implecatures and Simultaneous Readings. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 17, 45–62. Retrieved from