Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Jan 29 18:16:52 UTC 2001

I wrote:

>Agreed. I call this form the (first person plural) imperative
>interrogative, and that's not just a joke, even though the notion of
>"imperative interrogative" is funny because it seems contradictory. The
>speaker is asking for/about the concurrence of the addressee(s) in
>declaring an imperative from the group to the group.

Larry demurred:
I'm not sure why an imperative in interrogative clothing is any more
contradictory than a queclarative (Who the hell asked you? = 'nobody
did') or a declarative question (So you're going over there after
dinner(?)), or for that matter a 2d person "whimperative" (Why not
call her yourself?).  Just one more (partially conventionalized)
indirect speech act.

Good point. At first blush I was going to deny the asserted similarity to
"Who the hell asked you?" on the grounds that the latter does not expect an
answer (to put it mildly) while "Shall we go?" is at least willing to
consider a negative one. But "Why not call her yourself?" neatly points up
a middle ground. So I'm willing to concede a spectrum: the nature of the
speech act (mand, inquiry, assertion...) implemented by one of these "X in
form of Y" utterances can range, at least, from very-X-scarcely-Y to

-- Mark

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