One of the ways in which we can get someone to do something for us is through hinting. However, studies that have attempted to systematically examine requestive hints have faced difficulties in identifying hints as they are designed, by definition, to be ambiguous with respect to the intentions of that speaker. An alternative to this kind of circularity is to shift the analytical lens away from putative speaker intentions as the starting point of analysis. In this paper it is suggested that a properly pragmatic account of prompted offers requires systematic analysis of the situational conditions which afford the participants’ understanding of them as prompted, along with an appreciation of the three-part sequential architecture that is immanent to prompting offer sequences. It is concluded that pragmatic act theory has an important contribution to make to ongoing efforts to better understand fundamental processes of social action formation and ascription.
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