What Is n’t Doing There?: French Expletive Negation in Comparative Clauses

Patrick Leslie Rich


This paper explores expletive ne in subordinate comparative clauses in French. I limit the discussion to (reduced) clausal comparatives, since expletive negation does not occur in (direct) phrasal comparatives. I show that expletive ne is favored in all comparative clauses, and argue that this provides direct evidence that it is still a part of synchronic French grammar. I propose that French comparatives should be analyzed as A-not-A constructions, and that expletive ne is a formally negative head that is licensed by a truth-value operator. Expletive ne thus functions concordally to mark the comparative subordinate clause as containing a negation.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.534