The syntax and semantics of multiple degree modification in English




Focusing on the examples of multiple degree modification, this paper argues that the class of degree expressions in English is syntactically and semantically diverse, subdivided both according to the semantic effects of its members and according to the extent to which they permit, and participate in, multiple layers of modification. We argue that these two factors are linked, and result in (at least) a three-way distinction between ˋtrue degree morphemes', which map gradable adjectives to properties of individuals and combine with their arguments in a Head-Specifier structure; ˋintensifiers', which are syntactic and semantic modifiers of properties constructed out of gradable adjectives; and ˋscale modifiers', which are also syntactic and semantic modifiers, but which combine with ˋbare' gradable adjectives (relations between individuals and degrees) rather than properties formed out of gradable adjectives.


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How to Cite

Kennedy, Christopher & McNally, Louise. 2005. The syntax and semantics of multiple degree modification in English. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar 178–191. (doi:10.21248/hpsg.2005.10) ( (Accessed June 19, 2024.)