There is a real problem with the English language. Here's an example:

Sorrender: Guess what.
Someone else: What?

Now let's analyze this. You will notice that I said, "Guess what." There is no question mark because this is not a question, it is a command. It is the "you-implied" command. What I am really saying is, "You guess what." In the same way I might say, "Think about it." This is the "you-implied" imperative. I mean, "You think about it." Do it now.

The response that we have come to expect from this command (indeed, maybe even our own response when prompted) is, "What?" This is a question. The speaker is asking for information. However, this makes no sense. I gave you a command, follow it. You do not need to ask questions.

This phenomena by itself is strange, but it might be forgiven if it were not compounded by the next situation. Here is an example:

Sorrender: You'll never guess what I just did!
Someone else: Um... you fucked a nun?
Sorrender: No, I ...
Someone else: Um... you...

Repeat until tired.

It's true. When someone says, "You'll never guess ..." what is our immediate reaction, but to start guessing? But I JUST TOLD YOU that you would NEVER GUESS. Maybe you thought I was lying, or merely incorrect.

Why do people insist on speaking this nonsense language? I don't know.

"Guess what" is also a game little kids play.

Kid 1: Guess what?
Kid 2: What?
Kid 1: That's what!

laughter ensues

I guess Kid 1 and friends are laughing at Kid 2 for being suckered by Kid 1, expecting Kid 1 to say something interesting. The comedy increases with each repetition on the victim, where here the victim is Kid 2. Not very funny, I know, but it might be for a little kid.

See also: That's What, I'm rubber, you're glue, I know you are, but what am I?

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.