This paper examines the status of scalarity in the analysis of the meaning of the English determiner any. The latter’s position as a prime exemplar of the category of polarity-sensitive items has led it to be generally assumed to have scalar meaning. Scalar effects are absent however from a number of common uses of this word. This suggests that any does not involve scales as part of its core meaning, but produces them as a derived interpretative property. The role of three factors in the derivation of the expressive effect of scalarity is explored: grammatical number, stress and the presence of gradable concepts in the NP. The general conclusions point to the importance of developing a causal semantic analysis in which the contributions of each of the various meaningful components of an utterance to the overall message expressed are carefully distinguished.
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