Weak noun phrase

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Weak noun phrase is a noun phrase that can be used as the subject of a there-insertion sentence:

(i) There was NP in the room

The term was introduced by Milsark (1977) as a more general term for indefinite noun phrases. Besides traditional indefinites like a boy and boys, noun phrases like one boy, some boys, two boys or many boys are also weak. Milsark (1977) characterizes weak noun phrases as noun phrases that are not quantified, although they may contain indications of cardinality (like two, some and many). Being not quantified inherently, they can be existentially quantified by there.



  • Milsark, G.L. 1977. Toward an explanation of certain peculiarities of the existential construction in English, Linguistic Analysis 3, pp.1-29
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