Given a set of expressions, when responding to questions about rules and regulations.

'It's just the way it is.'

'It's the rules.'

'It's just not allowed.'

What would be a good functional/notional description of this lexical set.

Shutting down? Avoiding explaining? Refusal to engage in discussion?

EAQUALS from the British Council, page 6 shows the kind of functions I'm talking about. Communicative function, what meaning they convey to an interlocutor.

Take the conversation:

A: So, I'm going to put this over here

B: No, you can't do that.

A: Wait, what, what do you mean? Why not?

B: It's just the rules.

A: I don't get it. That doesn't make any sense.

B: It's just the way it is. Forget about it.

"It's just the way it is." - in this situation, the guy is saying "don't ask questions", or "it's not worth getting into"


Having thought about this more, there could be a number of different functions for the phrases, depending on context and prosodic and paralinguistic features of the context.

In this regard, I do believe that it's impossible to pigeon hole without other information. However, it's worth noting as a case where the language is almost phatic, that other features of the contextual environment would come into play.

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