M-modifiers, attenuation and polarity sensitivity

  • Stephanie Solt
  • E. Cameron Wilson


Moderate-degree modifiers (M-modifiers) such as fairly, somewhat, rather and kind of and their cross-linguistic counterparts have received relatively little attention in the formal semantics literature. The present paper seeks to address this gap by pursuing three goals: first, to profile the distribution and interpretation of M-modifiers in English; second, to propose semantic analyses for individual M-modifiers; and finally, to provide an account of the consistent status of M-modifiers as positive polarity items, which we argue derives from competition with simpler unmodified forms. These results provide evidence that there are multiple compositional routes to (apparent) degree modification, as well as other sources of polarity sensitivity beyond those responsible for the behavior of better-studied items such as any and ever.
How to Cite
Solt, S., & Wilson, E. C. (2021). M-modifiers, attenuation and polarity sensitivity. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 25, 787-804. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2021.v25i0.967