queclarative (grammar)

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

queclarative in grammar
An example of a queclarative.


In English grammar, a queclarative is an utterance that has the form of a question (an interrogative sentence) but the force of a statement (a declarative sentence).

In a number of ways, queclaratives are similar to rhetorical questions.

The term queclarative (a blend of question and declarative) was introduced by Jerrold M. Saddock in Toward a Linguistic Theory of Speech Acts (1974).

See Examples and Observations below.

Also see:

Examples and Observations

  • "Deviating from the plan may have been ill-advised. But sometimes you just have to take a risk. After all, isn't that what relationships are all about?"
    (Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in "Love American Style." Dexter, 2006)

  • Crapgame: Are you nuts? What's more important than 16 million bucks?
    Oddball: You come around tonight, Crapgame, and we'll show you.
    (Kelly's Heroes, 1970)
  • "Hello? What number are you calling? You've dialed the wrong number! Sorry? What good is that? How can you ever repay the last thirty seconds you have stolen from my life? I hate you, your husband, your children, and your relatives!"
    (Mink Stole as Peggy Gravel in Desperate Living, 1977)
  • Michael: Are you serious?
    Wayne Jarvis: Almost always.
    (Arrested Development, 2006)
  • "It is not the claim that intonation always directly conveys the illocutionary force of an utterance; it is also possible for the force of an utterance to be interpreted indirectly with respect to its intonation. This is exemplified in 'queclaratives,' which [Jerrold M.] Saddock (1974) describes as 'questions . . . used with the force of assertions of opposite polarity' (p. 79). The following are two examples from Saddock:
    • Does anyone study Aristotle anymore?
    • Haven't I been good to you?
    These, he points out, have the same illocutionary force, respectively, as
    • No one studies Aristotle anymore.
    • I have been good to you.
    Having both the syntax and intonation of yes/no questions, queclaratives function indirectly as assertions in cases where the speaker already knows the answer to the question to be the opposite of the proposition."
    (Ann K. Wennerstrom, The Music of Everyday Speech: Prosody and Discourse Analysis. Oxford University Press, 2001)


    Pronunciation: kwuh-KLAR-eh-tiv

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    Nordquist, Richard. "queclarative (grammar)." ThoughtCo, Oct. 7, 2016, thoughtco.com/queclarative-grammar-1691708. Nordquist, Richard. (2016, October 7). queclarative (grammar). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/queclarative-grammar-1691708 Nordquist, Richard. "queclarative (grammar)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/queclarative-grammar-1691708 (accessed November 24, 2017).