Grice’s maxims

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Grice’s maxims, sometimes Gricean maxims, are four communicative principles proposed by H.P. Grice as an elaboration of the co-operative principle in semantics and pragmatics. They are:

  • Quantity
    1. Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of the exchange).
    2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
  • Quality: ‘Try to make your contribution one that is true’
    1. Do not say what you believe to be false
    2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
  • Relevance: ‘Be relevant’
  • Manner: ‘Be perspicuous’
    1. Avoid obscurity of expression.
    2. Avoid ambiguity.
    3. Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity).
    4. Be orderly.