Rhetorical imperatives: expressing anti-preferences

  • Shun Ihara
  • Mana Asano


Almost all studies of rhetorical speech acts have exclusively focused on questions so far (Caponigro & Sprouse 2007, Biezma & Rawlins 2017, among others). This paper provides a detailed investigation of what we call Rhetorical Imperatives (RhIs). The hallmark of RhIs is that despite their imperative form without any negation, the speaker does not demand an action but rather conveys a flavor of a prohibition. In this paper, we propose that RhIs are imperatives that signal that content of a clause is already common-grounded in parallel to rhetorical questions, and that the speaker of a RhI has an anti-preference for the uttered content over alternatives.
How to Cite
Ihara, S., & Asano, M. (2020). Rhetorical imperatives: expressing anti-preferences. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 24(1), 377-391. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2020.v24i1.873