Be positive! Norm-Related Implications and Beyond

  • Galit W. Sassoon


Negative degree questions such as How short is John?, and negative equatives such as John is as short as Mary imply that John is short. Existing theories explain this ‘norm-related’ implication by means of (i) a competition between unmarked and marked antonyms, and (ii) by introducing a standardvariable in parallel with the standard analysis of the positive form John is tall. This paper argues against these principles and in favor of an analysis, whereby the zero on the measurement scales of norm-related adjectives is relative, rather than absolute. This principle captures the fact that norm-related implications arise with many positive adjectives (alongside with their negative antonyms) and are cross-linguistically tied with non-licensing of measure phrases.
How to Cite
Sassoon, G. W. (1). Be positive! Norm-Related Implications and Beyond. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 15, 531-546. Retrieved from