0
  • If you like space in the attic, are you gonna be happy.

This is a line from the Simpsons Season 15 Episode 1. Marge said the sentence as she gave Bart and Milhouse a box full of old comic books, which she'd found in the attic and determined to throw out. I was curious about why she said it in declarative tone. I checked few subtitles and they were all written that way. What does that sentence mean? Is it kind of suggestive?

1

The sentence is interrogative, not declarative, but it is stated in a declarative tone. This is a complicated little quirk of English, in which we can arrange word order in the form of a question, but leave off rising final intonation (or, in print, the question mark) to indicate that this is not a question to anyone but part of an explanation.

Think of it as a form of rhetorical question. Another way to state the meaning would be

If you like space in the attic, you are not going to be happy [leaving boxes of comic books around up there].

Stating it as Lisa did softens the presumption of deciding what will or won't make the listener happy, yet maintains the vitality of the premise.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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