Against stativizing negation, expletive negation and NPI-until

Jonathan MacDonald, Barbara Ürögdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a novel account of phenomena that have been discussed under the labels stativizing negation, expletive negation and the licensing of NPI-(eventive-)until. We argue that these concepts are theoretically undesirable as well as descriptively inadequate because (a) negation does not affect event structure, (b) "eventive" until outscopes negation and can also occur without negation, so it cannot be treated as an NPI, and (c) the properties ascribed to negation and/or until are observed in a wide variety of contexts and should therefore receive a more general, non-lexical analysis. Our account derives the facts from the idea that until- and for-duratives are referential items that scope in the topic field and can receive a contrastive interpretation on analogy with regular topics. This gives us a handle on the socalled "actualization" observed with negated eventives in the scope of a durative, previously handled by lexical duplication of until and by stipulation of idiosyncratic lexical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-220
Number of pages18
JournalActa Linguistica Hungarica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011


  • contrastive topics
  • duratives
  • negation
  • scope
  • statives
  • until

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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