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Indefiniteness and the Typology of Implicit Arguments
Scott AnderBois
43-53 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The literature on implicit arguments (IAs) in English has long distinguished between two types: definite (e.g. notice) and indefinite (e.g. eat). Using Heim's novelty condition and Sluicing as diagnostics, this paper argues that, in addition to these two types, a third type of IA exists, which we dub flexible (e.g. win). Although they superficially appear to be ambiguous as to definite and indefinite uses, the paper argues that they are best treated as lexical entailments of the predicates in question, rather than as true semantic arguments. Having separated out these flexible IAs, the paper concludes with a re-examination of the semantics and distribution of definite and indefinite IAs.

Published in

Proceedings of the 30th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Nathan Arnett and Ryan Bennett
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00