Glossary: Grice's maxims


Paul Grice (1975) contends that speakers ideally observe the co-operative principle in conversation by adhering to four sets of conversational maxims. These maxims are general principles which underlie an optimally efficient, cooperative use of language. The four categories are:

1 quantity: make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange - don't say too much or too little

2 quality: try to make your contribution one that is true

3 relation: be relevant

4 manner: be perspicuous - avoid unneccessary obscurity and ambiguity


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