This paper looks at the notion of scale through the negative polarity and free-choice interpretations of arbitrary-selection expressions such as any. These interpretations rest on a scalar model, which explains why they often get associated with the same item cross-linguistically. A scalar model does not seem to emerge readily in the problematic imperatives of the type Pick any card, where the arbitrary selection item differs from its other uses by its existential value and absence of qualitative dimensions. These differences come from a choice over non-distinguishable entities left to the interlocutor. Yet, since this choice is exerted against the whole set of contextual entities, a scalar model seems to stand, for this and other problematic imperative uses.
- negative polarity
- arbitrary-selection expressions
- existential value
- qualitative dimensions
- non-distinguishable entities