A Note on the Syntax of Quantity in English

Richard S. Kayne

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    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).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationMovement and Silence
    PublisherOxford University Press
    ISBN (Electronic)9780199788330
    ISBN (Print)9780195179163
    StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


    • Adjectives
    • Determiner phrases
    • English language
    • French language
    • Grammar
    • Polarity
    • Quantity
    • Syntax
    • Universal grammar

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Arts and Humanities


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