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Must, need and do...have to are all used in a complaining type of question (usually with a second-person subject) already mentioned in §117Aa:

Need you be so rude? | Do we have to have rice pudding every day? | Must you drop ash all over my carpet?

Although the logical meaning of these verbs is ‘Is it obligatory / necessary...?’ the force of the question is probably ironic, communicating at two levels: ‘Is it a fact that you can’t help this annoying behaviour? (But, of course, I know very well that you could help it if you wanted to!)’

(from <Meaning and the Engnlish Verb 3rd ed.> by Geoffrey Leech)

  1. Here, "the force of the question is probably ironic, communicating at two levels" is equal to the following?

"the force of the question is probably ironic and communicates at two levels"

  1. Here, two levels mean the following?

first level: Is it a fact that you can’t help this annoying behaviour?

second level: Of course, I know very well that you could help it if you wanted to!

  1. Then, what's the exact meaning(or dictionary definition) of the verb "communicate"?
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  • To communicate is to express yourself. - talking, explaining, writing, emailing, texting. Need you says level 1 (can't stop it) and level 2 (don't want to stop it.) It communicates both meanings through the rich irony that English allows. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 23:18
  • 1. Then, the communicating of Need you...? at level 1 is simply based on the logical meaning(i.e. necessary or obligatory) of the verb need and the communicating of Need you...? at level 2 is based on the ironical element which the speaker has captured from the verb need, so the answer to my second question is yes?
    – gonju yi
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 4:46
  • 2. Secondly, here the word communicate is equivalent to the word convey?
    – gonju yi
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 4:54
  • 3. lastly, the answer to my first question is also yes?
    – gonju yi
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 4:55
  • 1 yes. 2 yes. 3 yes. Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 5:04

1 Answer 1

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Your question is a bit long and complicated, but I think the short answer is "yes". IF someone asks, "Do you have to eat rice pudding every day?", it's POSSIBLE that he means it literally. "Is there some reason why we are forced to eat rice pudding every day?" Perhaps that is all we can afford, or someone has concluded that it is essential for good health, etc. But most likely it is meant ironically. The speaker and the listener both know that nothing is literally forcing us. Rather, he means, "I don't like to eat rice pudding every day. Let's stop."

Sometimes, the answer to such a question is "yes, there is a good reason why we must do this that you are apparently unaware of or don't understand".

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  • 1. Then, the communicating of Need you...? at level 1 is simply based on the logical meaning(i.e. necessary or obligatory) of the verb need and the communicating of Need you...? at level 2 is based on the ironical element which the speaker has captured from the verb need, so the answer to my second question is yes?
    – gonju yi
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 4:57
  • 2. Secondly, here the word communicate is equivalent to the word convey?
    – gonju yi
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 4:57
  • 3. lastly, the answer to my first question is also yes?
    – gonju yi
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 4:58

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