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Movement and Silence$
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Richard S. Kayne

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179163.001.0001

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A Note on the Syntax of Quantity in English

A Note on the Syntax of Quantity in English

(p.176) 8 A Note on the Syntax of Quantity in English
Movement and Silence

Richard S. Kayne (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores unpronounced elements in the context of a discussion of the English words few, little, many, much, and numerous. As is well known, few has regular comparative and superlative forms that make it natural to take the word as an adjective. Given this, the general parallelism between few and little, many, and much, combined with the more specific fact that they, too, have comparative and superlative forms, leads to the natural conclusion that little, many, and much are also adjectives. In the phrases many booksor few books, many and few are presumed to modify NUMBER rather than directly modifying books. This claim can be elevated to a claim about universal grammar (UG): in all languages, modifiers with the interpretation of many or few necessarily modify NUMBER (or number).

Keywords:   syntax, quantity, grammar, English language, French language, adjectives, universal grammar, polarity, determiner phrases

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