On the Criteria for Distinguishing Accomplishments from Activities, and Two Types of Aspectual Misfits

  • Anita Mittwoch
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 93)


In the literature on aspect at least eight criteria have been used for distinguishing between Vendlerian activities and accomplishments. This paper submits these criteria to a critical survey. Some of them are found to have exceptions and/or to need revision. It will be shown that in certain contexts two criteria, the telos, a.k.a. set end-point or culmination, and the aspectual adverbial (in an interval) are in conflict in sentences with quantized measure phrases. The paper will argue that the telos has priority; the adverbial is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for telicity, and the predicates in question do not fit neatly into either aspectual class. Additionally, it will be shown that predicates with non-specific DPs (e.g. some/many plums) are somewhat defective accomplishments.


Mass Noun Measure Phrase Bare Plural Base Sentence Theme Argument 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to Edit Doron, Peter Hallman, Fred Landman and Susan Rothstein for helpful discussion. Thanks also to Beth Levin, Malka Rappaport Hovav and an anonymous reviewer for comments on an earlier version of the paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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