Part and parcel of eliding partitives

Michaël Gagnon

This paper argues that bare determiners, as in the sentence Many sat down, should be analyzed as involving the elision of a partitive phrase, as opposed to a noun phrase, as is commonly assumed (Lobeck 1991, 1995; Bernstein 1993; Panagiotidis 2003; Alexiadou & Gengel 2011; Corver and van Koppen 2009, 2011). This analysis is supported by: (i) the anaphoric interpretation of the bare determiners in context; (ii) the syntax of bare determiners; and (iii) deep event anaphora. Further, the adoption of partitive ellipsis comes with the suggestion that partitive DPs do not involve null intermediary noun phrases (cf. Jackendoff 1977, Sauerland and Yatsushiro 2004, and Ionin, Matushansky & Ruys 2006), but rather that determiners can take partitive phrases as internal arguments (Matthewson 2001). The existence of such a phenomenon also militates in favor of a meaning isomorphy approach to the licensing of ellipsis (Merchant 2001), rather than structural isomorphy (Fiengo & May 1994).