LINGUIST List 7.470

Thu Mar 28 1996


Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. Joel M. Hoffman, 7.464, Sum: "MUST"

Message 1: 7.464, Sum: "MUST"

Date: Tue, 26 Mar 1996 20:47:00 EST
From: Joel M. Hoffman <>
Subject: 7.464, Sum: "MUST"
> On February 6, l996, I posted the following query on LINGUIST:
> [Why is (1) ungrammatical?]
>	 l. *The books sell well (in order) to raise money.
>	 2. The books must sell well (in order) to raise money.
>	 3. It is necessary that the books sell well (in order) to
>	 raise money.
> The general consensus was that 1. was ill-formed not for
> syntactic but for semantic reasons. [...]

Further support for semantic conflict in (1) comes from possible
readings in which it >is< grammatical. For example, the god of a
small city, manipulating every facet of every transaction, might
explain to another god why things in the city work out so well:

 ``Well, the books sell well in order to raise money, and then
 the money is used to to pay people in order that the people
 have enough money to buy the books. That's my secret.''

In other words, if "the books sell well" can be construed to mean "I
have the books sell well" then (1) "becomes" grammatical. But
syntactic violations are seldom overcome by semantic

-Joel Hoffman
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