English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What is the difference between a question and an invitation?

Is there any difference? Do they accomplish different things? Are they structurally different?

share|improve this question
What is the similarity between a question and an invitation? I mean, an invitation can be phrased as a question, but so can a lot of other things. – Marthaª May 4 '11 at 23:58
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I realize that Stephen's answer is pretty thorough, but can't help but think that side-by-side comparison of their definitions may help a bit, so...

Question: Noun: A sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information.


Invitation: A written or verbal request inviting someone to go somewhere or to do something.

So the answer to your question "Do they accomplish different things?" is "Yes". They do. question is for obtaining information, and invitation is more for giving information.

share|improve this answer
It sounds like a question elicits information, whereas an invitation elicits an action. Is that fair to say? – dsg May 5 '11 at 0:20
@dsg I think so. Absolutely. – MikeVaughan May 5 '11 at 0:21

An invitation is a statement or question that says are welcome to a party or an event. A question is something which you want answered.

Example of a question:

Where is your party?

In this example you expect an answer. "The party is at my house."

Examples of an invitation as a statement:

You may come to my party.
You are invited to my party.

Here you just make it clear that the other person may attend.

Example of an invitation as a question:

Will you come to my party?

Both are considered invitations but one expects a response on whether or not you are coming.

share|improve this answer
Does this relate at all to speech acts? – dsg May 4 '11 at 23:51
Yes, and invitation is an example of a speech act. – Stephen May 6 '11 at 16:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.