Presuppositions (Linguistic) – NLP


What is assumed in the model of the world of the speaker by the listener.

They are the linguistic equivalent of assumptions, they are useful for both recognising what is assumed by the client’s speech (their model of the world) and assisting in creating new internal representations for the client. Presuppositions are assumptions made in advance. They have implied meaning within sentences. They imply that a condition is already existing to be true or make sense.

Knowing someone else’s presuppositions enables you to structure their internal processing towards change.

Examples of linguistic presuppositions are:

  • Can you visualise your success now?   Success is presupposed.   It is presupposed that they have had it.
  • Should I go to the supermarket now or later?  Presupposition is that you are going to go to the supermarket.
  • She saw that she could be a success. Presupposed that she could see.
  • He understood the solution. Presupposed that there was a solution, that he could understand.
  • After we saw the colours of the new leaves, we knew the bushes would live. Presupposed that the leaves were new, that they were leaves, that there are bushes and that they would live as a result.
Learn the different types of linguistic presuppositions and how to use them to bring about change and increased choice in another person in our NLP training Series. Our online NLP training has videos and audio that cover this subject lots more in detail.