In this paper I discuss a novel construction in English, restricted to existentials and possessive have sentences, exemplified by sentences such as There’s all sand in my hair. I argue that the syntax and the semantics of this construction, which I have labeled the completive all construction, can be explained only if all is understood to be modifying a silent element (in the sense of Kayne 2004). In particular, I propose that completive all sentences contain a silent SPACE element and a silent preposition WITH. All is the modifier of a PP headed by silent WITH and the nominal that accompanies all (e.g., sand in There’s all sand in my hair) is the complement of silent WITH. Apart from providing an analysis for this construction, in this paper I also discuss a series of contrasts exhibited by all when it quantifies over nominals vs. when it modifies a syntactic predicate, such as the sensitivity of all to the individual- vs. the stage-level distinction and its tolerance to exceptions. I claim that these contrasts can help us gain a better understanding of the element all and thus help us choose between competing analyses.
Fraga, Carolina. 2023. Completive all in English and the status of all. Yale Working Papers in Grammatical Diversity 5 (2), 1–26.