English Comparative Correlatives, Conditionals, and Adverbs of Quantification

  • E. Allyn Smith


This paper argues that the similarities long observed between English Comparative Correlative sentences (CCs) such as the bigger they are, the harder they fall and English conditionals are the result of the conservativity of generalized quantification and not the identity of the quantifiers involved in conditionals and CCs. I review the similarities, noted by Thiersch (1982), Fillmore (1987) and Beck (1997), inter alia, before presenting new data showing differences in both the kind of quantification (universal/generic v. proportional) and the defeasibility of quantification on the basis of what kinds of Adverbs of Quantification are found with each and how they affect interpretation. I conclude that CCs are not merely a subclass of conditionals as previously theorized (cf. Beck 1997, Lin 2007 and Brasoveanu 2008), positing an alternative theory in which a proportional quantificational force is part of the lexical meaning of the first the in the CC.
How to Cite
Smith, E. A. (1). English Comparative Correlatives, Conditionals, and Adverbs of Quantification. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 15, 547-564. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/399