failures of parallelism

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Jul 5 20:12:14 UTC 2004

On Jul 5, 2004, at 12:54 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> On the free-choice reading I just alluded to, here's one that doesn't
> involve a conjunctive blend:
> Not that defending one's country is the job of a film critic, but I
> would think any American couldn't help but feel a little defensive
> after watching this film.

this one i find hugely better than
   Any American could not resolve these problems.
the Dogville critique is better, i think because "couldn't help but" is
in fact semantically positive, roughly equivalent to "would".

i have tremendous trouble with free-choice "any" subjects with
semantically negative VPs.  i realize this is subtle, since things like
   Any American would be unable to resolve these problems.
   Any American would fail to resolve these problems.
are fine free-choice sentences for me.

but i do understand that there are dialect differences on the truly
negative sentences.

arnold (zwicky at

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