Using metadiscourse in making persuasive attempts through workplace request emails

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7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on and discusses the way professionals use metadiscourse in an attempt to achieve persuasion through workplace emails. Drawing upon the interpersonal model of metadiscourse, a total of 659 workplace request emails collected from professional contexts in Hong Kong were analyzed. The type and abundance of the various metadiscourse categories used in this computer-mediated communication genre were first identified and then compared with those found in non-computed mediated ones that also aim to persuade others. The results suggest (1) email offers professionals a convenient channel to persuade colleagues to comply with requests by appealing to rationality, credibility and emotions; (2) persuasive attempts made via email differ from those made via other channels in terms of the pattern of use of metadiscourse; and (3) there may be a preferred pattern of use of persuasive strategies in different moves of the workplace request email genre.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-81
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Email
  • Metadiscourse
  • Persuasion
  • Professional communication
  • Rhetoric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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