Number in NPI licensing

Luka Crnič*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The acceptability of any-DPs in existential modal sentences presents a challenge for theories of NPI licensing: existential modal sentences appear to differ substantially from other environments in which any-DPs are acceptable (in particular, they lack a downward-entailing operator). One approach to this challenge has been to, first, take any-DPs to be subject to an environment-based downward-entailingness condition—they have to occur in an environment that is Strawson downward-entailing with respect to their domain (cf. Kadmon and Landman 1993)—and, second, to derive such an environment in existential modal sentences by means of exhaustification (e.g., Fox 2007). This note presents new evidence for such a two-layered approach (cf. Crnič 2017, 2019). The evidence comes from a striking contrast in the behavior of singular vs. plural any-DPs in existential modal sentences. The paper concludes by charting some relations between any-DPs and other polarity items.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalNatural Language Semantics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Exhaustivity
  • Free choice
  • Negative polarity items
  • Plurality
  • Variation


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