This chapter revisits the status of long-distance intermediate-scope readings of indefinites (Kratzer 1998; Schwarz 2001; Endriss 2009; among others). An experimental study with native English speakers investigates two questions: whether intermediate-scope readings are distinct from functional readings; and whether there is any difference in the availability of functional readings to ‘a’ indefinites vs. to ‘a certain’ indefinites. The findings indicate that intermediate-scope readings are equally available in contexts that set up a functional relationship and in contexts that do not set up such a relationship. At the same time, intermediate-scope readings are found to be more readily available to ‘a certain’ indefinites than to ‘a’ indefinites. Implications of these findings for claims about the status of functional and intermediate-scope readings (Schwarz 2001; Endriss 2009) are discussed; the findings point to the methodological difficulty of setting up contexts that tease apart functional and non-functional readings of indefinites.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpistemic Indefinites
Subtitle of host publicationExploring Modality Beyond the Verbal Domain
EditorsLuis Alonso-Ovalle, Paula Menéndez-Benito
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9780199665297
StatePublished - 2015


  • intermediate scope
  • a certain indefinites
  • functional readings
  • long-distance scope


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