Generalized implicature

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A generalized implicature is a conversational implicature that is inferable without reference to a special context (Grice 1975:56, Levinson 1983:126).


Expressions with the form an X usually imply that X is not closely related to the speaker or subject, as in the following expression:

John walked into a house yesterday and saw a tortoise.

This expression implies that the house is not John’s house (Grice 1975:56).


  • Levinson, Stephen C. 1983. Pragmatics. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
  • Grice, H. P. 1975. "Logic and conversation." In Cole, Peter & J. L. Morgan (eds). 1975. Syntax and semantics: Speech acts. (Volume 3.) New York: Academic Press, 41–58.