Optionality in the use of too: The role of reduction and similarity

Pascal AMSILI, Emilia ELLSIEPEN, Gregoire Adalbert WINTERSTEIN

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This paper deals with the property of obligatoriness that is often described as characteristic of the class of additive particles (e.g. the adverb too). In a nutshell, these particles are said to be obligatory because omitting them in a discourse creates either an infelicity or the derivation of unwanted inferences. A common trend of analysis treats this property as boolean. The general consensus used to be that if an additive particle can be used in a discourse then it has to be used. However some examples show that this property is probably best treated as a gradient. In this work we investigate some of the conditions that affect this obligatoriness. First, based on a small experiment with corpora, we evaluate the frequency of the obligatory vs. optional uses of too. Then, having established that the optional cases are not the exception, we present the results of an experiment that evaluates the effect of ellipsis and anaphora on the obligatoriness of additive particles. Copyright © 2015 Asociação Brasileira de Linguística.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-252
JournalRevista da ABRALIN
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Amsili, P., Ellsiepen, E., & Winterstein, G. (2016). Optionality in the use of too: The role of reduction and similarity. Revista da ABRALIN, 15(1), 229-252.


  • Additive particles
  • Experimental pragmatics
  • Corpus study
  • Obligatory presupposition


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