Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Thu Dec 7 20:57:07 UTC 2000

At 12:56 PM 12/7/00 +0800, you wrote:
>At 12:30 PM -0500 12/7/00, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
>>This is the partitive genitive, right?  I recall the term from French
>>study, where 'des' would be used for "some (of an unspecified quantity of)
>><plural noun>.  So, we can also say "I bought some books" with implied "of
>>an unspecified quantity."  'Many', 'a few/few', 'any' work this way--others?
>Actually, I'd argue (and have argued, following Milsark) that "I
>bought some books" is not inherently partitive, as opposed to "I
>bought some of the books" or "I eat SOME meats".  (The unstressed
>non-partitive purely existential "some" of the first example is
>sometimes indicated by "sm" in the literature.)  "Many" and "few"
>have both these uses as well:  "He has many problems" doesn't
>presuppose a pre-existent set of problems of which he has many (i.e.
>a significant subset), and similarly for "She made few mistakes".
>"He solved many/few of the problems" does have such a presupposition.
>"Most", on the other hand, is always partitive or proportional (even
>without a following "of the"), and "all" and "no"/"none" are as well.

Thanks!  This was very helpful.  I was wondering about 'none' vs. 'any', in
fact; I assume 'any' could be either partitive or not so?  "Did you buy any
books?"  "No, I haven't bought any for years" vs. "Did you buy any (of
those in a set)?" "No, I bought none (of that set)."

Beverly Olson Flanigan         Department of Linguistics
Ohio University                     Athens, OH  45701
Ph.: (740) 593-4568              Fax: (740) 593-2967

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