Degree Possession Is a Subset Relation (as Well)


  • Zhiguo Xie


The structure and meaning of possessive verbs have received several competing analyses in the literature. Almost all the analyses were developed based on the English ‘have’ and were intended to apply crosslinguistically. In this paper I consider the peculiar degree use of the Chinese possessive verb y?u, in the ‘X+ y?u + Y + G(radable predicate)’ construction. This degree use of y?u takes a covert small clause as the underlying object that specifies a subset relation between two degree intervals. In this use, y?u does not make semantic content contribution, and only provides a formal mechanism for its subject to bind a variable in the covert small clause object. The degree use of y?u shares the same structure and meaning as its other uses. In addition, I argue that no existing alternative analysis of possessive verbs can capture the degree use of y?u. In this sense, the paper locates among several analyses of possessive verbs the most explanatorily adequate one, through examining a language-specific phenomenon.


How to Cite

Xie, Z. (2019). Degree Possession Is a Subset Relation (as Well). Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 15, 661–676. Retrieved from