An analysis of the semantic variability of weak adjuncts and its problems


  • Sarah Zobel



This paper addresses the question of how to account for the semantic variability of
weak free adjuncts. Weak free adjuncts are non-clausal adjuncts that associate with an argument
of the main predicate, contribute propositional content, and can interact with temporal
or modal operators, which leads to different, adverbial-clause-like interpretations. I focus on a
specific type of weak adjuncts, non-clausal as-phrases, and propose a unified semantic analysis
for the full range of interpretational possibilities that takes into account the interpretational contingency
on different syntactic positions. I show that this analysis improves on Stump’s (1985)
original analysis of weak adjuncts. I then go on to discuss the limitations of both Stump’s account
and the unified account. Both accounts fail to capture that the interaction of weak adjuncts
with modal operators underlies certain restrictions on the properties of the modal operators—an
observation that has not been discussed in the literature so far.
Keywords: weak free adjuncts, semantic variability, as-phrases, temporal/modal operators.





Zobel, Sarah. 2018. „An Analysis of the Semantic Variability of Weak Adjuncts and Its Problems“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 61 (Januar):499-516.