Counterfactual biscuit conditionals: A temporal remoteness Approach

Maribel Romero, Eva Csipak


Hypothetical conditionals like If you are hungry, your stomach is growling and ‘biscuit’ conditionals like If you are hungry, there is pizza in the fridge have been analysed as sharing the same syntactic and semantic template, differing only in the presence of an additional pragmatic inference leading to the ‘biscuit’ effect in the latter case (Franke 2009: a.o.). However, when considering their counterfactual versions, the two forms differ in the verbal morphological make-up of the consequent clause, which posits a challenge to the unified approach. The present papers develops an analysis of tense and mood morphology within the unified approach where the key idea is that counterfactuals biscuits involve breaking Sequence of Tense and so-called Sequence of Mood. Unacceptable biscuit and hypothetical forms are ruled out via pragmatic competition between weaker and stronger forms and via the Gricean Principle of Manner.

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