Back to basics: more is always much-er

Alexis Cornelia Wellwood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Bresnan (1973) posited that more is uniformly analyzed as much-er, whether it appears with adjectives (more intelligent, redder) or nouns (more soup). On the earliest degree-semantic analysis of such constructions, much appears but is semantically inert: it serves to morphologically mark the presence of the degree argument which is introduced by adjectives and nouns (Cresswell 1976). I present an alternative analysis, one suggested by Cresswell himself: on this account, the degree argument is introduced by much. I first show how the interpretation of this morpheme as a structure-preserving mapping to the domain of degrees is motivated by data from nominal and verbal comparatives, and then how it extends to adjectival comparatives. To accomplish this, I argue that adjectives are predicates of states, and interact with degrees only in composition with much. The upshot is a theory in which much universally provides the mapping to degrees for comparison by more, regardless of the syntactic category it combines with.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of Sinn and Bedeutung 17
EditorsE Chemla, V Homer, G Winterstein
Place of PublicationParis, France
PublisherEcole Normale Superieure
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2012


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