Weak and Strong Accomplishments
Traditional tests for distinguishing accomplishments from activities in English (e.g. see Dowty 1979, chapter 2.2.3) include compatibility with temporal in-phrases and the availability of two interpretations when modified by almost, as seen by the contrasts in (2)–(6), where paint a picture and write a paper are accomplishment verb phrases and paint pictures and write papers, activity verb phrases. Following Rapp and von Stechow (1999), the two readings of almost will be called the ‘counterfactual’ and the ‘scalar’ interpretation, respectively.
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