NPIs, Intervention, and Collectivity

Brian Buccola, Luka Crnič

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Negative polarity items are subject to so-called intervention effects (Linebarger 1980, 1987). Specifically, they are unacceptable in the immediate scope of certain non-downward-entailing operators, even if they occur in the scope of a (higher) downward-entailing operator. By studying the behavior of any in configurations with collective predicates, we provide new empirical arguments that the descriptive condition concerning intervention must be stated with reference to the content of the clausal constituents in which NPIs may occur, and not merely with reference to operators c-commanding them. This is in line with recent arguments for environment-based formulations of NPI licensing conditions (e.g., Homer 2008, Gajewski 2011). We conclude by discussing how the condition fits in with some recent theories of intervention (especially Guerzoni 2006, Chierchia 2013).
Original languageEnglish
JournalSemantics and Pragmatics
StatePublished - 2021


  • English language (Modern)
  • syntax
  • negation
  • intervention effect
  • negative polarity
  • distributive meaning

Cite this