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The 'hope-wh' puzzle

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-356
Number of pages34
JournalNatural Language Semantics
Issue number4
Early online date23 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


Clause-embedding predicates come in three major varieties: (i) responsive predicates (e.g. know) are compatible with both declarative and interrogative complements; (ii) rogative predicates (e.g. wonder) are only compatible with interrogative complements; and (iii) anti-rogative predicates (e.g. hope) are only compatible with declarative complements. It has been suggested that these selectional properties are at least partly semantic in nature. In particular, it has been proposed that the anti-rogativity of neg-raising predicates like believe comes from the triviality in meaning that would arise with interrogative complements. This paper puts forward a similar semantic explanation for non-veridical preferential predicates such as hope, which are anti-rogative, unlike their veridical counterparts such as be happy,which are responsive.

    Research areas

  • clause-embedding predicates, selectional restrictions, attitude predicates, clausal complementation, question embedding, preferential predicates

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