The grammar of discourse: The case of then

Maria Biezma


This paper presents an analysis of then that appeals to discourse structure. I argue that then does not make any truth-conditional contribution but rather coordinates an anaphoric relation between consecutive discourse-moves. The meaning contribution of then is captured in terms of felicity conditions: then requires that two propositions enter into a ‘causal explanatory claim’-relation in which one (the antecedent) provides the ‘reasons’ for the other (the consequent). This proposal targets then within conditionals and across discourse and considers discourse structure as a key factor in explaining its behavior.

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