Equatives and Maximality



There is one salient difference between equative constructions like John drove as fast as Mary did in English and Slovenian: while the former do not allow a downward-entailing operator to occur in the standard clause and c-command the degree argument that is abstracted over, the latter do. This holds, however, only if the equative occurs without a multiplicative degree modifier. We show how these facts can be captured on relatively simple assumptions about the make-up of equative constructions. Building on the insights of von Stechow (1984) and Rullmann (1995) about the distribution of downward-entailing operators in degree constructions, we argue that the behavior of equatives in Slovenian provides new support for the following two conclusions: (i) that maximality, although a component of equatives, is separable from the other ingredients of the construction (in line with Heim 2006, pace von Stechow 1984; Schwarzschild and Wilkinson 2002, and others) and (ii) that degree domains are always dense (the Universal Density of Measurement, Fox and Hackl 2006).


Equatives Degree semantics Maximality Density Degree modifiers 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Linguistics and PhilosophyMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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