Degree modifiers and common ground operators: The case of at all

Erika Mayer


At all is among the most common negative polarity items in English. In this paper, I argue that at all has a dual use as a degree modifier and operator on the common ground. I first present an account of degree modifier at all based on Chierchia 2013 that captures its status as a minimizer as well as an NPI. I then show that a very similar account can be used for at all's common ground usage, departing from the usual quantification over worlds approach for common ground management. This degree-based account of common ground at all captures its status as an NPI and provides a possible shared semantic core between degree modifiers and common ground operators.

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