Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Actual Presupposition


An actual presupposition is any potential presupposition that is not canceled by its context.



The utterance John says that the king of France is bald has two potential presuppositions:

  • There is someone identified as John.
  • There is a king of France.

Of these two, only the presupposition that there is someone identified as John is an actual presupposition, because the second presupposition is reported.