Language and Linguistics

Appellative function examples and characteristics

Appellative function

The appellative function  of language is one that serves to order, request or suggest something to the recipient of the message. Its purpose is to persuade another person to do a certain action. For example: “please move”, “don’t do that” or “get out of class.”

The appellative or conative function makes use of several linguistic techniques to achieve the objective of persuasion in the receiver. This function is regularly present in dramatic texts. It is also used for everyday communication, for advertising and in political speeches.

When appealing function orders are made, they can be short-term. For example: hand me the keys. Also with long-term reaction. For example: you should start dieting. Also, it can be used for questioning purposes. Example: did you read the book I recommended? Even for exclamations that require a reaction: tell me what’s wrong!

What is the appeal function for?

The appeal function serves to:

  • Order (imperative form) : don’t smoke here, run away, don’t throw food away.
  • Ask (interrogative function) :  Could you bring me a cup of coffee? Have you finished the task yet? What time is it?
  • Suggest : Would you invite me to the movies? If you want you can sit down, the child is crying.

Characteristics of the appellative function

The appellative function has a series of characteristics:

Vocative application

Vocatives are the words that are used to address a receiver (names, pronouns, nouns). In the appellative function it is necessary to make use of this linguistic resource, since the message must be directed to a person or a group of them.

In this way, the listener feels directly identified with what he hears and knows that he must react. Vocatives can be at the beginning of the appellate sentence, within it or at the end.

  • Examples

– Maria, put on your coat, it’s very cold.

– All students, go to the court.

Use of the second person

In appellate sentences and speeches the use of the second person is common, because the sender gives his opinions and ways of thinking in order for the receiver to feel identified.

  • Example

– As you understand, I can not go to that place.

Used in manuals and instructions

In functional texts and instructive texts, the use of the appellative function predominates, since these are elaborated for a receiver. And when it comes to following a few steps, a specific action will be generated from a stated goal.

  • Examples

– Cooking recipe: how to make rice?

Satellite system installation manual.

Present in surveys or applications

When we use the conative or appellative function we must receive a response from the receiver. Therefore, questionnaires or surveys also fulfill this function of language. In this type of text, an interaction takes place between who generates the questions and who answers them, and the receivers may be influenced by whoever elaborates them.

  • Examples

– What movies have you seen this year at the cinema?

– Do you think the walls look better in light green? Answer and explain why.

Interrogative sentences

On many occasions, the appeal function is applied in interrogative sentences to address the receiver and obtain an answer. There are several ways in which interrogations can be present, using adjectives , verbs, or alongside adverbs.


– Can you stop making noise?

– I’m prettier, right?

– Let’s go to the beach, what do you think?

– It’s the same, don’t you think?

Used in advertising

Various language functions are applied in advertisements, one of them is the appellation. This is intended to influence the recipient to purchase a product or make use of a specific service.

These advertising messages use verb conjugations such as “take advantage”, “take” or “buy”, to name a few. This in order to leave a clear message to whoever reads or listens to said advertising.


– Take advantage of! We have this great offer for you.

– Get 3 and pay only 2.

– What are you waiting for? Come and buy our non-stick pans. They are the best.

Used for politics

The appellative function is widely used by politicians in their speeches towards the population. It can be used directly or indirectly, but always with the aim that the idea is captured. Those who use it only hope that their followers act or think in a certain way.


– Direct: Go vote this Sunday, the future of the country is in your hands.

– Indirect: Don’t you think that we should take action against opposing groups?

– In the indirect way, although it seems that the answer can be chosen, the speech is aimed at influencing the reaction of the public.

Use of emotional words

Sometimes, in the appellative function, elements loaded with affection are used so that the receiver feels identified. Hence, you can make requests or give orders with a touch of emotion can receive the result we want.


– You are very pretty! You should eat healthier to maintain your figure.

– I miss you, come to breakfast tomorrow at 8:00 am!

Exhortative expressions

When we speak of exhortative or imperative prayers, we mean those that are used to give orders, make prohibitions, and give or ask for advice. That is why you will always find them in the appealing functions.


– You can behave in a correct way!

– Pedro! Don’t smoke inside the house.

Linked to the phatic function

The expressions of the appellative function are very diverse. They are closely linked to the phatic function when it comes to starting or ending a conversation. There are simple words that just by saying them already generate a response.


– Good afternoon (in less formal language, it is reduced to “good”).

– Hello. As you wake?

– Blessed are the eyes!

Examples of the appellative function

– Hello Rodrigo. Do you want to go to the beach? The day is quite hot. Come on, you won’t regret it!

– You shouldn’t talk to that neighbor. Pedro is very grumpy.

– Children, you can get in the car. Put on your seat belt.

– Do you need life insurance? Come on, call now! You will get the best packages.

– The cinema show will start. Please turn off the phones.

– Keep children away.

– Help me with the cleaning.

– Sebastian, go to your dad and tell him the water‘s gone.

– Do not wait more! We are waiting for you at the hotel la Bahía. We have the best vacation packages for this Christmas.

– Sir, I’d appreciate it if you don’t leave your umbrella there.

– Do not miss this unique opportunity.

– Send your resume indicating the intended remuneration.

– Get out carefully.

– Kids, don’t make so much noise.

– Speak lower, there are people sleeping.

– Mister innkeeper, we are ready to order. Bring us a grill on land and sea. Don’t forget to add shrimp.

– Cecilia, stop crying! Not worth it. Let’s go for a walk in the park, you’ll feel better.

– The automated voting system is the best. What do you think? There is a lot of research on this that recommends it. It’s time to change!

– Stay away from the falls.

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