This paper assembles examples and considerations bearing on such questions as the following. Are statements to the effect that someone is too young (for instance) or that someone is old enough always to be understood in terms of someone's being too young or too old for such-and-such—for example, for them to join a particular organization? And when a ‘such-and-such’ has been specified, is it always at least tacitly modal in force—in the case just given, too young or old enough to be able to join the organization? These questions are explored by means of a critical examination of the (affirmative) answers given to them by Eric Nelson in a 1980 paper on the subject, with part of the intention being to rescue Nelson's thoughtful discussion from the oblivion into which it appears to have fallen, judging by more recent contributions on the subject by semanticists.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Monash University
Publication date: June 1, 2006