Quote of the week

Yo Theresa May, where’s that money for Grenfell?

Stormzy. 21st February 2018, The Brit Awards,

‘Yo’ is an interesting term of address. Among friends, it is a positive politeness device. It shows solidarity and anoints positive face. However, when addressed to Theresa May in this way, it is a threat to her negative face. The term is too informal. This illustrates how we tread a fine line between attending to positive face and threatening negative face.

‘that money’ – exophoric reference. This refers to money that has not been mentioned in the text but it is assumed that we know what Stormzy is talking about.


Presupposition is a linguistic feature. Every utterance asserts a proposition but at the same times presupposes certain things. For example, Stormzy’s quote presupposes:

  • Theresa May exists
  • Theresa May is someone who can facilitate money for Grenfell
  • Grenfell exists
  • Grenfell has been promised some money
  • The money for Grenfell has not yet been paid

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