Focus Particles and Embedded Exhaustification

Luka Crnič*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The focus particle even gives rise to an inference that the sentence in which it occurs denotes a proposition that is ranked above the relevant alternatives on a salient pragmatic scale. As a consequence, if unembedded even associates with a strong element that is in a scale-reversing environment, the sentence will be infelicitous. We present data that appear to contradict this generalization, i.e. felicitous sentences where even associates with a strong element across a single scale-reversing operator. We show that the appearance of contradiction disappears on the assumption of embedded exhaustification (e.g. Chierchia et al. 2011). We conclude by observing an analogous puzzle with another focus particle, only, which is resolved on the same assumption.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberffs018
Pages (from-to)533-558
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Semantics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013


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