'Only' and Monotonicity in Conditionals

  • Matthew Berends
  • Stefan Kaufmann


This paper proposes an account of the interpretation of ‘only’ in the antecedents of indicative conditionals. Our concern lies with the implication from a conditional of the form if (only φ), ψ to its ‘only’ -less counterpart if φ, ψ: when and why it is warranted. We argue that the pragmatic relationship of scalar upward monotonicity determines its availability. Two factors serve as license. First, it may arise by virtue of a language user’s pre-existing world knowledge. Second, it may manifest when it constitutes the most informative reading of the conditional available. We discuss one case in point; namely, its appearance when the consequent is desirable.
How to Cite
Berends, M., & Kaufmann, S. (2019). ’Only’ and Monotonicity in Conditionals. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 13(1), 63-76. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2009.v13i1.498