The adverb 'only' is known to be able to come in a variety of positions. The following examples demonstrate that it may be generated in positions that aren't so simple to syntactically analyse. The examples below involve control/subj-to-obj raising:
1) Only he wants Max to eat the chicken. 2) He only wants Max to eat the chicken. 3) He wants only Max to eat the chicken. 4) He wants Max only to eat the chicken. 5) He wants Max to only eat the chicken. 6) He wants Max to eat only the chicken. 7) He wants Max to eat the only chicken. 8) He wants Max to eat the chicken only.
Adverbs are usually analysed to modify VPs, so the AdvP is usually generated adjoined to VP. This enables the adverb to occur before or after the VP on the surface. Moreover, adverbs can be preposed to SpecCP. The problem arises when analysing the adverb 'only' when it comes between the verb and (raised) object (3), the subject and HeadIP (4), and between the determiner and noun (7).
In (3), it is conceivable that AdvP is generated as an adjunct of VP with "want" moving from VP to vP. The split VP hypothesis does deal with this problem in fact. 'Only' is unexcitingly generated as an adjunct of VP.
[IP He [vP wants1 [AgrOP Max2 t1 [VP [AdvP only] [VP t2 t1 [CP t2 [IP t2 to eat the chicken]]]]]]]
However, does V always move to v even in simplex, non-raising/control declaratives such as "he only ate chicken"? If it does, is AdvP an adjunct of vP when the adverb precedes the verb?
(By the way, which is a more recent and widely accepted analysis of control - null PRO or subj-to-obj raising?)
An additional problem is when raising verbs such as 'appear' are involved as in the example below. How is 'only' able to appear between HeadIP and SpecIP? The split VP hypothesis doesn't seem to be able to account for this.
[IP Max1 appears [IP t1 only to have eaten the chicken]]
Perhaps in the examples involving intra-DP 'only', 'only' is an adjectival of sorts as it seems to be modifying the DP/NP in examples (1), (3), (6), (7) and (8). This could be supported by 'only' being infelicitous with expletives such as raising-it and weather-it.
*Only it seems that Max is eating the chicken. *Only it is raining.
So, adjectival 'only' modifies "he" in (1), Max in (3), "the chicken" in (6), and "chicken" in (7). The adjective 'only' is known to modify the NP within the DP, e.g. "the only child", which is different from 'only' coming before D or after N as in "only the child" and "the child only". So, how us this formalised? Could it be a quantifier?
What do you all think?