The semantics and pragmatics of and everything

Gregory Ward, Betty Birner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Distinguishing between semantic and pragmatic factors in utterance interpretation is often problematic. The meaning of and everything is a case in point. Unlike the meaning of other set-marking tags (cf. Ball and Ariel 1978), the meaning of and everything is non-compositional. We propose that and everything instantiates a type of open proposition, obtained by replacing the entire conjunction with a variable. Semantically, and everything conveys only that the variable is to be instantiated by at least one other (typically unspecified) member of some inferrable set. However, in certain contexts the use of and everything may also generate an R-implicature (Horn 1984) to the effect that the proposition in question is true not only of some other member(s) of the set, but in fact of all members. In addition, the use of an L+H* pitch accent on and everything conveys that the anchoring constituent exemplifies a high value on some scale; which particular scale is evoked is inferrable from the anchoring element itself and the context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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