Illocutionary force

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Illocutionary force is the status of an utterance as a question, promise, threat, etc. This term should not be confused with illocutionary act, which is a speech act, expressing the intention of the speaker.


The sentence Do you know what time it is? is uttered with the illocutionary force of a yes-no question, but uttering it is an illocutionary act of a request: it would be improper to answer with a simple 'yes'.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Austin, J.L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words, Oxford University Press, Oxford.