Straddling the line between attitude verbs and necessity modals

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This chapter explores the semantic properties of verbs and adjectives with closely related meanings having to do with desires and goals. I evaluate recent work on verbs of desire (e.g. ‘want’) which has suggested that these attitude predicates require access to multiple alternatives for their interpretation (Villalta 2006, 2008). I argue that this heavy machinery is in fact not required, integrating important insights proposed in this recent work into a quantificational modal analysis of comparison-based attitudes. The proposed analysis highlights the similarities and differences between ‘want’ and ‘necessary’, an adjective that is shown (including naturalistic corpus data) to be primarily goal-oriented and to be semantically dependent to a certain degree on the syntactic configuration it appears in. Whether or not the modality is lexically relativized to an individual is also suggested to play a role in defining the semantic properties of desire- and goal-oriented modal expressions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationModality across syntactic categories
EditorsAna Arregui, María Luisa Rivero, Andrés Salanova
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics


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