Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 239–270 | Cite as

Intensional verbs and their intentional objects



The complement of transitive intensional verbs, like any nonreferential complement, can be replaced by a ‘special quantifier’ or ‘special pronoun’ such as something, the same thing, or what. In previous work on predicative complements and that-clauses I argued that special quantifiers and pronouns introduce entities that would not have occurred in the semantic structure of the sentence without the special quantifier, entities that one would refer to with the corresponding nominalization. Thus something in John thinks something or the same thing in John thinks the same thing as Mary ranges not over propositions, but rather over entities of the sort ‘John’s thought that S’ or ‘the thought that S’, without those entities acting as arguments of the think-relation. Despite initial apparent lack of evidence for this view for transitive verbs like need, a closer inspection of a greater range of data gives in fact further support for the ‘Nominalization Theory’ of special quantifiers, once ‘nominalization’ is viewed in a suitably extended and flexible way.


Transitive intensional verbs Intensional quantifiers Modality Situation Intensionality 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

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

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