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A syntactic perspective on rhetorical purpose: the example of if-conditionals in medical editorials

Abstract : This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the functioning of if-conditionals in medical editorials (MEDs). As previous genre-based studies of medical discourse genres have shown, MEDs need to address at least three different types of readers and are thus a research-oriented, socio-political and praxis-oriented genre. Medical editorialists therefore need to customize their argumentative strategies in order to reach and convince these distinct readerships. Our aim is to adopt a syntactic perspective on rhetorical purpose, by focusing on a syntactic pattern which has a potentially important role to play in the construction of argument: the if-conditional. By examining the syntactic variants of the structure in MEDs we demonstrate the correspondence between seemingly minor constructional variants and the rhetorical aims of the genre in question. A comparison between the research article and MED usages moreover helps us to identify the form-function pairings specific to the editorials and in this way pinpoint how the if-conditional forms are used to serve the specific argument strategies of the MED genre.
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Contributor : Shirley Carter-Thomas Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 6:12:55 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 17, 2022 - 10:08:40 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01120501, version 1


Shirley Carter-Thomas, Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet. A syntactic perspective on rhetorical purpose: the example of if-conditionals in medical editorials. Ibérica, AELFE (Asociación Europea de Lenguas para Fines Específicos), 2014, 28, pp.59-82. ⟨halshs-01120501⟩



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