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What does Ron's question sound like it implies? A or B?

Wait, you were busy and were going to reply?

A: "Wait, you were going to reply after all? I thought you for sure missed my message

B: "I thought you might have missed my message, so you were just busy and were going to reply?"

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  • probably A. It's the "wait" at the beginning, which often means "I have to revisit this idea because something isn't what I thought". If instead he said "Oh, you were busy and were going to reply?", only changing that one word would still make the whole response lean more towards B.
    – MarielS
    Dec 1, 2020 at 4:25
  • Is it possible it could mean B as well given the context that Ron knew Mary was working and could be a little busy?
    – user125657
    Dec 1, 2020 at 5:01
  • When you say that "wait" means revisiting does that mean Ron could have been thinking "I think she might have missed my message" or "I think she absolutely missed my message"
    – user125657
    Dec 1, 2020 at 5:04
  • Is not that it can't mean B, just that it would be easy for Mary to misinterpret as A. Of course, if Mary knows Ron well, and is familiar with the way he thinks and talks, she may be able to tell what he means anyway, but if she is not as familiar with him, she could misunderstand.
    – MarielS
    Dec 1, 2020 at 7:14
  • I added additional context in the original post (at the bottom) Given that context and Ron saying “thinking you might have missed my message” does this imply it was closer to B?
    – user125657
    Dec 1, 2020 at 8:13

1 Answer 1

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Saying "wait" in this way - alternatively, some may say "hold on", or "hang on" - is an exclamation used to halt further speech so that you can dwell on the current thought or return to a recently mentioned one. In your example, that isn't part of the 'question', just a way of halting further thought or speech so that the question can be posed.

The question you are asking about is a statement question. A statement question is a question posed in the form of a statement. It doesn't need to use an interrogative word (eg who, what, where) and is usually used to confirm something. Intonation makes it a question in spoken speech - a question mark illustrates this in written speech.

A statement question can also be used to express disbelief at something, as seems to be the case in your example. Ron appears to be expressing surprise or disbelief that Mary was going to reply whilst busy. Perhaps this is uncharacteristic for Mary?

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