• Zorica Trajkova Faculty of Philology, English department Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje
  • Silvana Neshkovska Faculty of Education, Bitola St. Kliment Ohridski University


Requests are face-threatening speech acts, so whenever speakers decide to make one, they need to be aware of its illocutionary force and the effect it has on the hearers. In order to lower the requests’ imposing force, speakers tend to modify them. Thus, they hope that hearers will accept them without feeling threatened. This paper aims to investigate the linguistic means used by speakers to modify their requests both in English and Macedonian, in order to make them more acceptable for the hearers. More precisely, it examines their internal modification with the use of syntactic downgraders and lexical and phrasal upgraders, as well as the external modification with the use of mitigating and aggravating supportive moves. The corpus was collected by using a DCT (discourse-completion test). Three groups of respondents were asked to make requests given some specific situations – Macedonian native speakers (in Macedonian), English native speakers (in English) and learners of English (in English). The research showed that all respondents use both types of modification, but the internal modification seems to be more frequently used than the external. The use of the external modification is optional and depends mostly on the speaker’s judgment of the imposing force of the request based on social and cultural factors.


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How to Cite
TRAJKOVA, Zorica; NESHKOVSKA, Silvana. MODIFYING REQUESTS AS FACE-THREATENING SPEECH ACTS. International Journal of Education TEACHER, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 1, p. 24-33, sep. 2017. ISSN 1857-8888. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 june 2018. doi: