The putative preference for offers over requests*

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Requesting and offering are closely related, insofar as they are activities associated with someone’s need for assistance. It has been supposed (e.g. Schegloff 2007) that requests and offers are not equivalent actions – specifically that offers are preferred actions and requests are dispreferred. We review the evidence for this claim across a corpus of requests and offers and demonstrate that the empirical evidence does not support the claim for a putative preference for offers over requests. Further consideration of the often symbiotic relationships between requesting and offering, particularly in face-to-face interactions, reveals a more complex picture of the ways in which people recruit others to help, or in which others are mobilized to help.


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