Pragmatics is the branch of linguistics that studies the use of language and its effects. It is concerned with the meanings that sentences have in particular contexts in which they are uttered, and with the various functions that speakers choose to perform with them.

In trying to determine what someone actually wants to say, people regularly go beyond the conventional meanings of the words spoken by taking into account contextual aspects:

  • The situation
  • The participants
  • The history of the interaction
  • General knowledge of the world
  • The ability to draw inferences (conclusions)