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In formal semantics, subtrigging is the phenomenon whereby free choice items in episodic sentences require a modifier. For instance, the following sentence is not acceptable in English.[1][2][3][4]

  1. *Any student signed the petition.

However, the sentence can be repaired by adding a post-nominal modifier such as a relative clause, prepositional phrase, or locative.

  1. Any student who went to the meeting signed the petition. (RC)
  2. Any student at the meeting signed the petition. (PP)
  3. Any student there signed the petition. (locative)

See also


  1. ^ LeGrand, Jean (1975). Or and Any: The semantics and syntax of two logical operators (PhD). University of Chicago.
  2. ^ Dayal, Veneeta (1998). ""Any" as inherently modal". Linguistics and Philosophy. 21 (5): 433–476. doi:10.1023/A:1005494000753. JSTOR 25001717. S2CID 60654913.
  3. ^ Aloni, Maria (2007). "Free choice and exhaustification: an account of subtrigging effects". Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung. 11.
  4. ^ Dayal, Veneeta (2009). "A viability constraint on alternatives for free choice". In Fălăuș, Anamaria (ed.). Alternatives in semantics. Palgrave Macmillan. CiteSeerX
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