Scalar implicatures (SIs) and, more generally, quantity-based implicatures (QBIs) have been intensely investigated since Grice's seminal work. Recently, SIs and QBIs have been at the center of an intense debate. Some researchers, following Grice's original insight, argue that they should be captured solely in terms of principles of rational action (the pragmatic approach). Others argue that they cannot be analyzed in purely pragmatic terms but can only be properly understood in terms of a compositional semantic device, namely exhaustification (the grammatical approach). In this article, I review the key arguments in this debate, which is of interest not only to determine who is right but also because of the range of new phenomena that have come to light thanks to such a debate. My conclusion is that both conceptual and empirical reasons favor the grammatical approach.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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