Expressive updates, much?

Daniel Gutzmann, Robert Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article investigates a novel use of much in a construction that has not yet been recognized in the theoretical literature—as in Angry, much?—which we dub ‘expressive much’. Our primary proposal is that expressive much is a shunting operator in the sense of McCready 2010, which targets a gradable predicate and adds a speaker’s evaluative attitude about the degree to which an individual stands out on the relevant scale. In particular, we argue that it does so in a way that allows it to perform an ‘expressive question’, which can be understood as a counterpart to a polar question, but in the expressive meaning dimension. In doing so, we present the first example of a shunting expression in English and provide, based on Gunlogson 2008, a new model of the discourse context that allows us to account for the different ways that expressive and nonexpressive content enters the common ground.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-135
Number of pages29
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Common-ground updates
  • Degree semantics
  • Expressives
  • Much
  • Multidimensional semantics
  • Rising intonation
  • Shunting expressions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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