Unlikely Imperfectives

Timothy W. Grinsell


The event-in-progress reading of the English incremental-theme progressive (Elena is drawing a circle) displays vagueness effects, especially when the culmination of the event denoted by the progressive is  unlikely. This paper explains these unexpected vagueness effects by adopting a modal theory of the progressive and a gradable theory of modality. It is then possible to explain vagueness effects in the progressive as a result of the same semantic phenomena that generate vagueness effects in gradable adjectives like healthy.

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Timothy W. Grinsell University of Chicago Department of Linguistics 1010 E. 59th St.

Chicago, IL 60637

[email protected]

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/salt.v24i0.2431