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An act performed in saying something. Examples of illocutionary acts are:
Laying a bet
Naming
Promising
Commanding
Warning
Asking
Etc
This is a central concept in JL Austin's theory of speech-acts. It is contrasted with the locutionary and perlocutionary acts involved in a speech-act. To ask for the (illocutionary) force of an utterance is to ask what kind of illocutionary act is being performed. For instance, 'Was what P said a promise or a threat?'

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