On the Behaviour of the English Negative Quantifier no in Sentential Negation Tests

  • Susagna Tubau Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


In this article I show that, when compared to other English negative quantifiers, no behaves unexpectedly when diagnostic tests of sentential negation are applied. I argue that this can be accounted for within an approach to negative quantifiers that assumes them to be complex syntactic objects involving a negative head and an existential Determiner Phrase (DP) and that allows Parallel Merge to generate multidominant phrase markers. Within this view, the verb selects just the existential part of the negative quantifier, while Negation (Neg) also (Parallel) Merges with it. In the case of no I claim that, unlike what is the case for other negative quantifiers, Neg only targets the D head rather than the entire existential DP. This results in a complex left-branching structure that, as such, needs to be transferred upon Merge, thus freezing Neg in the Tense Phrase (TP). As TP is the syntactic domain that sentential negation tests are sensitive to, no can do nothing but behave consistently insentential negation tests, showing, unlike other negative quantifiers, no asymmetry related to the position where it occurs.

Author Biography

Susagna Tubau, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Susagna Tubau is an Associate Professor at the Department of English Philology and German Studies of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She has researched the syntax of a variety of negation-related phenomena such as double negation, negative concord, minimisers and negative quantifiers mainly in English (including non-standard varieties), Catalan and Spanish, and occasionally other Romance languages and Basque as well.


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