Popping the question: questions and modality in written dating advertisements

Carol Marley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At the centre of the genre of dating advertisements is a tension between speech and writing, process and product, interaction and transaction. In this article I investigate some of the interpersonal resources available to writers of advertisements to achieve the goal of interacting in writing with a potential partner. I first consider the ways in which advertisers use questions and answers to enact and project speech-like interactional roles for themselves and their readers, in order to encourage an overt response to their textual initiations and open a conversation with a suitable partner. I then consider their use of modality to engage potential partners and negotiate mutual suitability. I conclude by comparing the generic function of these two areas of interpersonal resource and suggest a relationship of agnation between them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-98
Number of pages24
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • dating advertisements
  • functional grammar
  • interaction
  • modality
  • questions


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