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What is a conversational maxim?



A conversational maxim is any of four rules which were proposed by Grice 1975, stating that a speaker is assumed to make a contribution that

  • is adequately but not overly informative (quantity maxim)
  • the speaker does not believe to be false and for which adequate evidence is had (quality maxim)
  • is relevant (maxim of relation or relevance), and
  • is clear, unambiguous, brief, and orderly (maxim of manner).

The conversational maxims, along with the cooperative principle, partly account for conversational implicatures.


Levinson 1983 101–104, 113–114


Grice 1975 45–46, 49–50


Crystal 1985 153

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