Modals, negation and movement: a reassessment

Paloma Jeretič, Gary Thoms

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article addresses the question of how root necessity modals are able to take scope over negative operators. Previous work has argued that wide scope readings are derived by syntactic movement of the modal over negation. We argue against this view. Reviewing facts from a number of different languages, we show that the availability of wide scope readings is not conditioned by the clause structure in which the modal is embedded, and we show that deriving the wide scope readings in the full range of configurations where they are found requires a number of complications for the movement rules involved. We discuss other issues for deriving the correct interpretations for modals in various negative constructions, and we outline an recent in-situ account of the modal facts (Jeretič 2021a) which avoids the complications that beset the syntactic account.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    StatePublished - 2023

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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