Superplurals in English

Analysis 68 (3):186 - 197 (2008)
Abstract
It is now widely believed among philosophers and logicians that ordinary English contains plural terms that may refer to several things at once. But are there terms that stand to ordinary plural terms the way ordinary plural terms stand to singular terms? Let’s call such terms superplural. A superplural term would thus, loosely speaking, refer to several “pluralities” at once. It is reasonably straightforward to devise a formal logic of superplural terms, superplural predicates, and even superplural quantifiers (Rayo 2006). But does this formal logic reflect any features of natural languages? In particular, does ordinary English contain superplural terms and predicates? The purpose of this note is to address these questions. We examine some earlier arguments for the existence of superplural expressions in English, and find these arguments to be either inconclusive or not sufficiently far-reaching. Then we present some better examples of the superplural in ordinary English. [First author: Linnebo; second author: Nicolas.].
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