Extreme and non-extreme deontic modals

Paul Portner, Aynat Rubinstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Paul Portner and Aynat Rubinstein’s chapter shows that there are strong parallels between strong and weak necessity modals (‘must’ vs ‘should’, ‘crucial’ vs ‘important’), on the one hand, and extreme and non-extreme gradable adjectives (‘big’ vs ‘huge’), on the other. Several approaches to extreme and non-extreme expressions are reviewed before an extension of Morzycki’s 2012 degree-based theory of extreme adjectives to the modal domain. The analysis defended in this chapter is based on a method of constructing scales for necessity modals based on premise semantics, and it allows new insights into the pragmatic difference between the two types of necessity modals. The key insight is that extreme deontic modals are ‘extreme’’ in that they relate to degrees which are built using premises not at issue in the conversation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Deontic modality
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press, UK
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780198717928
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameDeontic modality
PublisherOxford University Press Oxford


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