Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Cooperative Principle


The cooperative principle is a principle of conversation that was proposed by Grice 1975, stating that participants expect that each will make a “conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange.”


The cooperative principle, along with the conversational maxims, partly accounts for conversational implicatures. Participants assume that a speaker is being cooperative, and thus they make conversational implicatures about what is said.



  • When a speaker makes an apparently uninformative remark such as “War is war,” the addressee assumes that the speaker is being cooperative and looks for the implicature the speaker is making.
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Glossary Hierarchy