Epistemic adverbs that can/cannot be embedded under imperatives

Yuto Hirayama, Shin Ihara


This paper analyzes why certain epistemic adverbs are/are not embeddable under imperatives, by adopting Kaufmann’s (2012) modal analysis of imperatives and the assumption that epistemic modal bases are closed. The embeddable adverb is a modal modifier (Anand & Brasoveanu 2009) that expands the quantificational domain of the modal co-occurring with it, but the unembeddable one is a pure epistemic modal whose semantics does not involve an ordering source as in von Fintel & Gillies (2010). Imperative operators lose their contribution when they scope over the latter type adverbs because of vacuous quantification, hence violating a conversational principle proposed by Crniˇc (2011). The account lends support to the modal analysis of imperatives, which competes with Portner’s (2007) To-Do Lists analysis.


imperatives; epistemic adverbs; deontic modals

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v4i1.4521

Copyright (c) 2019 Yuto Hirayama, Shin Ihara

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