Abstract

This paper provides a lexical entry schema for exclusives covering the adverbs only, just, exclusively, merely, purely, solely, simply, and the adjectives only, sole, pure, exclusive and alone. We argue, on the basis of inter-paraphrasability relations among these exclusives and entailments involving at least and at most, that all of these items make an at-issue contribution of an upper bound on the viable answers to the current question under discussion (expressible with at most), and signal that a lower bound on those answers (expressible with at least) is taken for granted. The lexical entry schema accommodates two main points of variation, which makes it possible to capture the differences in meaning among these terms: (i) semantic type (restricted to the class of modifiers), and (ii) constraints on the current question under discussion or the strength ranking over its alternative possible answers. We propose 22 different specific instantiations of the schema for exclusives in English.

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