Even doesn’t move but associates into traces: A reply to Nakanishi 2012



Nakanishi (Nat Lang Semant 20(2):115–136, 2012) presents a novel argument for the so-called scope theory of English sentential even (VP-even), based on examples with antecedent-contained deletion (ACD). Nakanishi’s argument is based on the assumption that even cannot associate with a focus which has moved out of its LF scope. I show that this assumption is incorrect, defusing Nakanishi’s argument. I propose that when even associates with a focus which has moved out of its surface scope, it actually associates with focused material in the lower copies of movement (trace positions). I show that a closer look at ACD examples of Nakanishi’s type in fact yields a new argument against the scope theory. I conclude that English sentential even must always be interpreted in its pronounced position. The patterns of focus association with even presented here constitute a new argument for the copy theory of movement.


Even Association with focus Scope theory of even Backwards association Copy theory of movement Antecedent-contained deletion 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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