Toward a unified analysis of internal and external comparison

  • Michael Tabatowski


English comparatives in predicative position can be used to compare one individual to itself at a different point in time or space, e.g. in The river is wider. I identify grammatical distinctions between these internal comparatives and the more standardly analyzed class of external comparatives. On the basis of these grammatical differences, I argue that expressions of internal comparison are of a different semantic type than those of external comparison, viz. that a sentence containing an internal comparative is a relation between intervals in the domain of the denotation of the subject, conceived of as an individual concept. On this account, internal comparatives are semantically similar to degree-achievement verbs like widen in that they express a change in the degree of some property of the subject across an axis of measurement. The grammatical differences between internal and external comparatives then fall out from the semantics of internal comparison.
How to Cite
Tabatowski, M. (2019). Toward a unified analysis of internal and external comparison. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 23(2), 333-344.