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									4.2 Modes.

  In this section I will identify and explain the use of the three predominant

modes used within my sample of advertisements; imperatives, grammatical

questions (otherwise known as ‘interrogatives’) and declaratives. Specifically, I

will be examining whether patterns of usage emerge depending on the target

audiences of the product, or the publication that the advertisement is featured



  An ‘imperative’ can be described as a construction whose primary role is giving

orders. From the analysis of my sample of advertisements, I established and

named three categories of imperatives depending on the nature of their usage

and the degree of their directness/forcefulness. Firstly, I noticed that there were

‘standard’ forms of imperatives i.e. forms that gave distinct and direct orders to

the audience. Secondly, there was a form that were ‘conditional‘, or ‘hedged’.

They explained the orders or outlined the benefits of the required actions. Finally,

I established a form of imperative that seemed to function as a ‘conventional

sales feature’ rather than as a device used to directly sell the product to the

audience. I therefore chose to label these examples as 'conventional post-

advertising forms'.

Standard Imperatives: These forms were identified by ‘standard’ features of

imperative constructions i.e. an imperative verb form (whose primary role is

giving orders) that replaces the subject as the initial agent at the beginning of a

grammatical construction.


1. Get in control, tool up with a GMAX FULL suspension kit.
(Gmax Suspension, Redline)
2. Gimmie something BIG!!
(Plutonium Ground Zero, Redline)
3. Watch for FREE at 8pm….
(The Adult Channel, Redline)
4. PLUS get 3 hours of playboy TV FREE!
(The Adult Channel, Redline)
5. Go on, try it.
(Ford Fiesta, Cosmopolitan)
6. Quench your thirsty hair.
(Head and Shoulders, Cosmopolitan)
7. Push the limits of blondeness.
(Loreal Feria, Cosmopolitan)
8. Go metallic!
(Loreal Feria, Cosmopolitan)
9. Just add it to the colour mix.
(Loreal Feria, Cosmopolitan)
10. Step out of the dark!
(Loreal Feria, Cosmopolitan)

Conditional or Hedged Imperatives: These forms were identified by a preceding

’conditional clause’ (one which expresses a condition) or a similar form of clause

that directly justified the imperative.


11. If something is throbbing under your bonnet, take a look tonight.
(The Adult Channel, Redline)
12. For peak performance look for the bottle with the red x.
(Redex, Redline)
13. If you want to go low, get down with G-MAX springs and shocks.
(Gmax Suspension, Redline)
14. If you enjoy waking up every morning having aching, painful sore joints, then
fine, turn the page!
(Maximuscle, Gardener’s World)

15. If on the other hand it does work like I’ve promised, buy some more and tell
your friends.
(Maximuscle, Gardener’s World)
16. So if you want 100% flake free hair that’s 100% soft and shiny, quench your
thirsty hair.
(Head & Shoulders, Cosmopolitan)

Conventional Post-Advertising Forms: These forms were identified by having the

sole function of informing the reader how to obtain further information about the

product or advertisement itself. In this sense, they did not directly effect the

selling of the product. I therefore labelled this form of imperative as a 'pos t-

advertising' feature, in that they seemed to appear as standard practice. They

were presented as both ‘conditional’ (examples 17-20) and ‘standard’ (examples

21-24) forms of imperative constructions. The specific imperative verbs identified

from my sample of advertisements were ’call’, ’visit’ and ’e-mail’.


17. For details of your nearest stockist please call 0870 241 0804.
(Gmax Suspension, Redline)
18. For further information call free phone 0800 0644 300.
(Westland, Gardener’s World)
19. For further information please call our free phone number 0800 783 8083 or
(Hartley Botanic, Gardener’s World)
20. For more information call 08457 48 48 48 or visit
(Mazda 3, Cosmopolitan)
21. Sky Digital customers call 08705 123 321. ITV Digital customers call 0870
600 9696. Cable customers call 08708 469 469
(The Adult Channel, Redline)
22. Call us today on 01923 650600.
(Maximuscle, Gardener’s World)
23. Call sales NOW on: 01923 650600
(Maximuscle, Gardener’s World)
24. Call 08457 111 888 or visit fiesta
(Ford Fiesta Silver, Cosmopolitan)


 We can see that the category of imperatives labelled as ‘standard’ are extracts

taken exclusively from the Redline and Cosmopolitan magazines (examples 1 to

10). We could suggest that these forms are relatively more forceful and in terms

of their relationship with the audience, demand their action at all costs. This

linguistic feature seems to equate with the general nature of the publications it is

featured within. Both Redline and Cosmopolitan are comparatively more 'brazen'

or 'uncompromising' examples of magazines. Redline magazine in particular,

features bold stories and eye-catching visuals as portrayed by the source

descriptions (section 4.1,page 15). A firm, almost aggressive form of advertising

language seems to suit the expectations of their particular target audiences.

 By contrast, ‘conditional’, or ‘hedged’ imperatives, are relatively less forceful,

and in terms of their relationship with the audience, largely leave the decision

making to the reader. We can see that advertisements featured within all three of

the magazines, utilised these forms of imperatives. It is therefore difficult to

establish any patterns in terms of possible audience design. However, we could

note that this particular category contains the first examples of imperatives used

in Gardener’s World advertisements. In light of the apparent lack of 'standard'

imperatives found in the selection of Gardener's World advertisements, it could

be suggested that (in contrast to the advertisements featured in the other

publications) 'standard' imperatives may be seen as rather too direct and

aggressive for the audiences of this magazine. As a result of this, conditions or

hedges may be provided, prior to the imperatives, to create a more subtle

element to the language. This is portrayed by example 15 that shows two

imperative forms ('buy some more' and 'tell your friends') being made the subject

of the conditional construction, 'If on the other hand it does work like i've

promised.' In this sense, unlike a ‘standard’ form of imperative, for example 'Get

in control' (Gmax Suspension, Redline), the style of advertising is markedly less


    Examples of ’conventional post-advertising imperatives' feature in all three of

the magazine’s advertisements. Their inclusion for primarily functional reasons,

leads me to believe there are no issues of audience design surrounding their


                             Grammatical Questions.

    Unlike imperative constructions, grammatical questions featured in my sample

advertisements can be categorized depending on the nature of possible

responses. There are two main types of grammatical questions, the ‘wh-’

questions and the ‘yes/no’ questions. I therefore categorized my results working

within this framework.

    ‘wh-’ questions: These forms were identified as questions that begin with

     who? what? when? where? why? how? which?


1. Who’s been a naughty boy then?
(Gmax Suspension, Redline)
2. Why follow trends when you can set them?
(Mazda 3, Cosmopolitan)

    ‘yes/no’ questions:   These forms were identified as questions which often

     receive 'yes' or 'no' answer and typically begin with a verb form.


3. Have you had to give up things you enjoy simply because of painful, aching
(Maximuscle, Gardener’s World)
4. Dry hair? Dandruff?
(Head & Shoulders, Cosmopolitan)


    Unlike imperatives, the amount of grammatical questions identified from the

sample was relatively low. It is therefore difficult to determine any trend patterns

that correlate with the possibility of audience design. It could therefore suggest

that, within the boundaries of my sample, imperative constructions seem to be a

more significant feature in terms of possible audience design.


    Declarative   constructions   feature   in   the   majority   of   my   sample   of

advertisements. As the examples below indicate, their primary role is in making

statements, or conveying information about the products.


1. Lowering your suspension without shortened GMAX sports shock absorbers
can be a painful experience....
(Gmax Suspension, Redline)
2. Redex Petrol Injector Plus and Redex Petrol Injector Treatment clean and
protect your fuel injection system.
(Redex, Redline)
3. Some people have problems, that not even drugs can cure.
(Maximuscle, Gardener's World)

4. At Hartley Botanic we're proud of the fact that we've been making the finest
glasshouses money can buy for over 60 years.
(Hartley Botanic, Gardener's World)
5. Head & Shoulders washes the moisture back into your hair....
(Head & Shoulders, Cosmopolitan)
6. This rare piece is the exquisite Fiesta Silver.
(Ford Fiesta Silver, Cosmopolitan)


 The declaratives analysed from within my sample of advertisements were

standard in their creation and clear in terms of their function. Advertisements

seem to adopt this form of grammatical construction for its primary function of

informing, whatever their intended audience may be. In light of this, the

vocabulary used to create them is more likely to form a relationship between the

product and the envisaged audience. This will be addressed in the following

'vocabulary' section.


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