This study investigated the interpretation assigned to disjunction by Mandarin-speaking children and adults in negative sentences with either overt or covert disjunction. In one condition, both negation and disjunction were phonologically realized in the second conjunct of a coordinate structure. In a second condition, disjunction was elided from the verb phrase. Children and adults differed in scope assignments when both negation and disjunction were phonologically realized. However, negation took scope over disjunction for both groups when disjunction was elided. The findings invite the inference that adults, but not children, analyze disjunction as a Positive Polarity Item in negative sentences, but this polarity sensitivity is cancelled in sentences with verb phrase ellipsis. In this linguistic structure, both groups assign the same interpretation.