This paper provides a compositional syntactic and semantic analysis of a common English DP construction. The DPs in question consist of an attributive adjective followed by a noun followed by an infinitival relative clause. Semantically, the adjective appears to modify not the immediately following noun, but the post-nominal infinitival relative clause. The construction is theoretically important, the author argues, because it reveals a modal dimension in the meaning of the adjectives that occur in it. The interpretation of the construction also requires us to recognize the importance of standards of comparison in assessing patterns of inference across sentences.
Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie
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