Glossary of Linguistic Terms

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

45–46, 49–50
101–104, 113–114

Glossary Hierarchy