By Haj Ross and Paul Postal
(informal data handout)

                     Haj Ross & Paul Postal
                     8.VIII.95  Lac des les

List of suspects:  (jack)shit, crap, beans, diddley(shit), zilch,
                   (diddley)squat, dick, fuck all, bugger all

The Bahnhofers:  zero, zip, zippo, zilch & dick -
                 only for cognitive objects?

      He told us zero.
      They (*don't) know zero.
     *He ate zero.
      They *(don't) give squat to anyone.

Some are weaker than others:
      He gave zero to Louise >=  He gave Louise zero.
      He handed zip to me.  >= ?He handed me zip.

Locality condition on negative with squat:
      I didn't  think / *say / *report / *write  that she knew squat.
      Never did anything / *squat happen to me.
      Never was anything / *squat recovered from the Titanic.
      He knows squat about calc.
      *Squat does he know about calc.
      They *(don't) know squat, do they?
      He didn't take / buy / ?approve of pictures of squat.

Case condition:   No 3's:
      He didn't give anything / *squat a coat of paint.
      He didn't give anything / *squat any consideration
      He didn't prove anything / squat to have been given any consideration.
      [ OK because squat has become a 2 via Raisng.]

      He never gets injured by anything / *squat.
      He wasn't killed by anything / *squat
     ?He wasn't swayed by squat.
      Houdini couldn't escape from anything / ?squat.

No locatives:
      He won't live in anything / *squat.

[passive OK:  e.g., This house was lived in for years;
 thus squat is more restrictive than passivization.]

No genitives:  *squat's surface

Weird P's:
      Jack didn't prove of anything / *squat that there was recursion.

There facts:
      There never was anything / squat on the table.
      There never emerged anything / *squat from our discussions.

Pronominal reference to squat:
      They don't force anything / *squat to lie on its side.
      Alchemists couldn't make anything / *squat attract stuff to itself.
      He doesn't expect anything / *squat to suggest itself

Nakedness condition:
      He said squat (*of any interest/ *at all)
      He didn't send [anything / *squat] to her at all.
      They don't have anything / *squat to play with.  [
      Shows that the infinitive is not modifying the object of have.]
      He didn't say squat (*else).

Huge problem:  why isn't the about-phrase ruled out by nakedness?
      They don't know shit about algebra.

It looks like such phrases make constituents with what precedes them,
      Nothing about algebra did he tell us;
      He told us neither anything about algebra nor anything about snake
      oil;     let alone anything about algebra -_

all of these generally require constituents -_cf. the self-immolations
of the following, in all of which I assume that NP about NP after tell 
is a decided non-constituent:
      *Nobody about algebra did he tell;
      *He told neither any girl about algebra nor any boy about snake oil;
      *let alone anybody about algebra.

Negative spreading: 
      Nobody said squat about anything.
      He didn't say squat about anything.
      He said squat about anything.
     *I allowed squat to poison anyone.

Strong negative condition: there must be a syntactic Klima-type
negative, which really means not to get squatitives, and in the same
      Why not go fuck Barbara? / *eat anything / *squat.

NB:  only won't trigger squat:
      Only Bob knew anything / *squat about calc.

      Everybody but Bob knew squat about calc.
      He is too stupid to understand anything / *squat.

Affectives, lexical negatives, Q's, etc. aren't worth shit:
      If he knows anything / *squat;
      Does he know anything / *squat?;
      He is unable to find anything / *squat

Negative Q's *:
      Didn't he sign anything / *squat?

Something else (?):
      Why didn't you do anything / *squat?

Double negatives:

      Paul:  You can't just not do anything / *squat.
      Better for Haj -_He can't just not know squat.

      Nobody saw nothing = everybody saw something
      Nobody saw squat = nobody saw anything <> everybody saw something

Note 1:  inside NP's, even strong negatives are too weak:
      Nobody's discussion of anything / *squat interested me.

Worse than merely out after P:
      She doesn't dream about squat / *Nobody's dream about squat.

Negative-swallowing squat's untough-movability
      I take squat to be hard to give to friends at Christmas.

      It's easy to imagine nobody sending nothing
      = everybody sending something.

But not:
     *Nothing is easy to imagine nobody sending.

      She doesn't like anyone or anything / *squat.

Black hole condition:
      Frank didn't give / *gave squat to any charity.

      In order to spend nothing / *squat, he stayed out of the malls.
      He's too big-hearted to give nothing / *squat to the United Fund.
Unsolved mysteries:
      He gave very little in the way of anything / *squat to her.
     *(Don't) do squat until I get back.
     *May I ask that you do squat till tomorrow?
      Why didn't you do nothing / *squat till he got back?
      He figured out zip >> *He figured zip out.

Last modified: February 7, 2011     http://www.umich.edu/~jlawler/haj/squatitives.html