Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 51–94 | Cite as

Degree structure as trope structure: a trope-based analysis of positive and comparative adjectives

  • Friederike MoltmannEmail author
Research Article


This paper explores a novel analysis of adjectives in the comparative and the positive based on the notion of a trope, rather than the notion of a degree. Tropes are particularized properties, concrete manifestations of properties in individuals. The point of departure is that a sentence like ‘John is happier than Mary’ is intuitively equivalent to ‘John’s happiness exceeds Mary’s happiness’, a sentence that expresses a simple comparison between two tropes, John’s happiness and Mary’s happiness. The analysis received particular support from various parallels between adjectival constructions and corresponding adjective nominalizations which make reference to tropes.


Comparatives Adjectives Degrees Tropes Nominalizations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IHPST (Paris1/CNRS/ENS)ParisFrance

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