Floating quantifier

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Floating quantifier is a quantifier that is not immediately near the NP it quantifies. French tous (all) is the exemplary case:

(i) a  Tous les étudiants ont lu ce livre
       All  the students have read that book
    b  Les étudiants ont tous lu ce livre

In (i)a the quantifier tous immediately precedes the NP les étudiants it quantifies, but in (i)b tous has 'floated' off, as it were, into the sentence. Sportiche (1988) has claimed that tous in examples such as (i)b is stranded in the (VP-internal) D-structure subject position.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Sportiche,D. 1988. A Theory of Floating Quantifiers and its Corrolaries for Constituent Structure, Linquistic Inquiry 19-3.