You Only Need a Scalar Only

  • Sveta Krasikova
  • Ventsislav Zhechev


We propose a compositional analysis for sentences of the kind “You only have to go to the North End to get good cheese”, referred to as the Sufficiency Modal Construction in the recent lit- erature. We argue that the SMC is ambiguous depending on the kind of ordering induced by only. So is the exceptive construction – its cross-linguistic counterpart. Only is treated as inducing either a ‘comparative possibility’ scale or an ‘implication-based’ partial order on propositions. The prop- erties of the ‘comparative possibility’ scale explain the absence of the prejacent presupposition that is usually associated with only. By integrating the scalarity into the semantics of the SMC, we explain the polarity facts observed in both variants of the construction. The sufficiency meaning component is argued to be due to a pragmatic inference.
How to Cite
Krasikova, S., & Zhechev, V. (2019). You Only Need a Scalar Only. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 10(1), 199-210.