Quantifiers in Comparatives

  • Sveta Krasikova

Abstract

In this paper I attempt to show that the availability of different interpretations in the comparatives with embedded quantifiers is not a matter of the relative scope of the involved operators. I contrast ‘should’-like modals, universal quantifiers over individuals, any-terms and non-epistemic possibility modals with a relatively small group of ‘have to’- like modals. I argue that the behaviour of the former does not support the flexibility of the scope approach – these expressions always result in the more-than-maximum reading. The latter class can indeed lead to different interpretations. To account for this pattern I propose a degree-based semantics for necessity modals like ‘have to’ and demonstrate that the observed readings under the comparative is a consequence of the interplay between the likelihood ordering introduced by the modal and the scale of the adjective. I further argue that the quasi universal interpretation of some existential quantifiers in the comparative context is due to the free choice implicature that strengthens the meaning of the embedded clause. I hope to show that the existing approaches to the analysis of comparatives do not have to resort to comparative-specific scope mechanisms.
Published
2019-07-25
How to Cite
Krasikova, S. (2019). Quantifiers in Comparatives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 12, 337-352. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2008.v12i0.594