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“The underlying rationale is that the hearer not be given a command but simply be asked or advised about one of the necessary conditions for passing the salt.  Your goal is to have your need satisfied without treating the listener as a flunky who can be bossed around at will.”

“In an episode of Seinfeld, George is asked by his date if he would like to come up for coffee.  He declines, explaining that caffeine keeps him up at night.  Later he slaps his forehead: “’Coffee’ doesn’t mean coffee! ‘Coffee’ means sex!’”

(Pinker [2009]: 73)

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