Imperative clauses are recognized as one of the major clause types alongside
those known as declarative and interrogative. Nevertheless, they are still an
enigma in the study of meaning, which relies largely on either the concept of
truth conditions or the concept of information growth—neither of which are easily
applied to imperatives. This book puts forward a fresh perspective. It analyzes
imperatives in terms of modalized propositions, and identifies an additional,
presuppositional, meaning component that makes an assertive interpretation
inappropriate. The author shows how these two elements can help explain the
varied effects imperatives have, depending on their usage context.
Imperatives have been viewed as elusive components of language because
they have a range of functions that makes them difficult to unify theoretically.
This fresh view of the semantics-pragmatics interface allows for a uniform
semantic analysis while accounting for the pragmatic versatility of imperatives.