There is no number effect in the licensing of negative polarity items: a reply to Guerzoni and Sharvit

J. Hoeksema*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Guerzoni and Sharvit (Linguistics and Philosophy 30:361-391, 2007) provide an argument that plural, but not singular, wh-phrases may contain a negative polarity item in their restriction, and connect this with the semantic property of exhaustivity. I will show that this claim is factually incorrect, and that the theory of negative polarity licensing does not need to be complicated by taking number distinctions into account. In addition, I will argue that number distinctions do not appear to be relevant for polarity items in the restriction of definite noun phrases either.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-407
    Number of pages11
    JournalLinguistics and Philosophy
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug-2008


    • Negative polarity items
    • Licensing
    • Wh-questions
    • Existential presupposition

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