Superlative sentences with modal modifiers like possible give rise to the so-called 'modal superlative reading' . The present paper uses this reading to investigate an open issue in degree constructions: whereas two different lexical entries have been argued to exist for the comparative morpheme -er , it is not clear whether two entries are needed for the superlative morpheme -est. The paper argues that, with 3-place –est, otherwise unmotivated syntactic material would to have to be postulated and that, even with this material, not all modal superlative examples would be assigned correct truth conditions. In contrast, 2-place -est can generate the modal superlative reading in all the cases, as shown in Romero . Modal superlative sentences, thus, provide evidence that 2-place –est is needed in the grammar
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DOI 10.4148/biyclc.v6i0.1577
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References found in this work BETA

Comparative Superlatives.Anna Szabolcsi - 1986 - In N. Fukui, T. Rapoport & E. Sagey (eds.), Anna Szabolcsi 1986 MIT WPL 8. MIT Press.
Polar Opposition and the Ontology of 'Degrees'.Christopher Kennedy - 2001 - Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (1):33-70.

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Modal Superlatives: A Compositional Analysis. [REVIEW]Maribel Romero - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (1):79-110.

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