Chapter published in:Exploring Intensification: Synchronic, diachronic and cross-linguistic perspectives
Edited by Maria Napoli and Miriam Ravetto
[Studies in Language Companion Series 189] 2017
► pp. 207–228
English exclamative clauses and interrogative degree modification
I here explore the relationship between interrogative degree modification (What a mess!; How awful!) and exclamative clauses like What a wonderful conference we had or How wonderful this conference was. The former are usually viewed as derived from the latter by means of ellipsis. The ellipsis account is based on the prerogative of clausal over non-clausal structures, a silent assumption behind much of contemporary grammatical reasoning. My study provides quantitative evidence that this reasoning may well have to go into the opposite direction. It is based on the British National Corpus and the International Corpus of English, British Component.
Keywords: exclamations, exclamative clauses, degree modification, intensifiers, interrogative words
Published online: 30 September 2017
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