!? (Where’s the Ban on Imperative Questions?)

Adrian Stegovec


This paper argues for a re-evaluation of the common assumption that imperatives cannot appear in (true information seeking) questions. This is challenged based on new data from Slovenian, which show that imperatives can occur in scope marking questions. It is proposed that instead of a categorical exclusion of imperative questions based on clause type, the ban on imperative questions is the result of a matrix clause version of subject obviation. The proposed analysis not only reduces the putative "ban on imperative questions" to another independent phenomenon, but also correctly predicts the behavior of imperatives in scope marking questions.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/salt.v27i0.4140