Comparatives, Semantics of

Comparative constructions are used to express explicit orderings between two objects with respect to the degree or amount to which they possess some gradable property. The semantic analysis of comparatives is built on top of a more general analysis of gradable predicates, which makes crucial uses of abstract representations of measurement (scales), formalized as sets of objects (degrees) ordered with respect to some dimension (size, speed, brightness, etc.). The interaction of the basic semantics of gradability with the combinatorics of clausal syntax permits the expression of an unlimited number of arbitrarily complex comparisons, and leads to interactions between comparatives and other logical expressions in a sentence.