Almost There: The Meaning of almost

  • Doris Penka


Modifiability by almost has been used as a test for the quantificational force of a DP without stating the meaning of almost explicitly. The aim of this paper is to give a semantics for almost applying across categories and to evaluate the validity of the almost test as a diagnosis for universal quantifiers. It is argued that almost is similar to other cross-categorial modifiers such as at least or exactly in referring to alternatives ordered on a scale. I propose that almost evaluates alternatives in which the modified expression is replaced by a value close by on the corresponding Horn scale. It is shown that a semantics for almost that refers to scalar alternatives derives the correct truth conditions for almost and explains selectional restrictions. At the same time, taking the semantics of almost seriously invalidates the almost test as a simple diagnosis for the nature of quantifiers.
How to Cite
Penka, D. (2019). Almost There: The Meaning of almost. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 10(2), 275-286.