NPIs, intervention, and collectivity
Brian Buccola, Luka Crnic
February 2021

Negative polarity items are subject to so-called intervention effects (Linebarger, 1980, 1987). Specifically, they are unacceptable in the immediate scope of certain non-downward-entailing operators, even if they occur in the scope of a (higher) downward-entailing operator. By studying the behavior of any in configurations with collective predicates, we provide new empirical arguments that the descriptive condition concerning intervention must be stated with reference to the content of the clausal constituents in which NPIs may occur, and not merely with reference to operators c-commanding them. This is in line with recent arguments for environment-based formulations of NPI licensing conditions (e.g., Homer, 2008; Gajewski, 2011). We conclude by discussing how the condition fits in with some recent theories of intervention (especially Guerzoni, 2006; Chierchia, 2013).

Note: The published version is available at

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004553
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Semantics and Pragmatics (
keywords: negative polarity items, intervention, distributivity, collectivity, conjunction, semantics
previous versions: v2 [October 2020]
v1 [April 2019]
Downloaded:709 times


[ edit this article | back to article list ]