Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 291–353 | Cite as

A scalar implicature-based approach to neg-raising

  • Jacopo RomoliEmail author
Research Article


In this paper, I give an analysis of neg-raising inferences as scalar implicatures. The main motivation for this account as opposed to a presupposition-based approach like Gajewski (Linguist Philos 30(3):289–328, 2007) comes from the differences between presuppositions and neg-raising inferences. In response to this issue, Gajewski (2007) argues that neg-raising predicates are soft presuppositional triggers and adopts the account of how their presuppositions arise by Abusch (J Semantics 27(1):1–44, 2010). However, I argue that there is a difference between soft triggers and neg-raising predicates in their behavior in embeddings; a difference that is straightforwardly accounted for in the present approach. Furthermore, by adopting Abusch’s (2010) account of soft triggers, Gajewski (2007) inherits the assumptions of a pragmatic principle of disjunctive closure and of a non-standard interaction between semantics and pragmatics—assumptions that are not needed by the present proposal, which is just based on a regular theory of scalar implicatures. I also show that the arguments that Gajewski (2007) presents in favor of the presuppositional account can be explained also by the scalar implicatures-based approach proposed here. Finally, while the main point of the paper is a comparison with the presuppositional account, I sketch a preliminary comparison with more syntactic approaches to neg-raising.


Neg-raising Presuppositions Scalar implicatures Alternatives 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive Science, C5C Level 4Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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