Generics, habituals and iteratives

In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier (2005)
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Abstract

Generics, habituals, and iteratives all have something to do with the notion of event repetition. However, iteratives expressly state repetition of events, whereas generics and habituals designate generalizations over repeated events. Though not adhered to uniformly, a ‘habitual’ sentence makes a generalization over repeated events with subject noun phrases denoting individuals or groups of individuals, whereas a ‘generic’ sentence has a subject that denotes a type of thing. Generics and habituals are distinguished from iteratives in several ways, among them that the former sentences are stative, whereas the latter are nonstative. Generics and habituals introduce intensionality. Generics and habituals are also focus-sensitive.

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Gregory Carlson
University of Rochester

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