Hypnotic Language Pattern - Presupposition




A presupposition is something that is assumed to be true. All sentences contain or imply these. We couldn't communicate effectively if we had to prove everything we said all of the time. With presuppositions, one part of a sentence must be assumed to be true for the whole sentence to make sense.


Example: 'John left home and drove to town to meet his girlfriend'

To make sense of this sentence you have to assume
There is someone called John
John has a home
John has a car
There is a town in driving distance
John has a girlfriend
A girl is in the town expecting to meet someone called John

You could go on and on with the assumptions, for example, you would have to assume there was petrol in the car, but that would go on forever.


This is very useful as you can make some statements more believable if you structure the presuppositions carefully. For example, if you wanted to impress someone with your car, saying 'I've got a big expensive Porsche' is not as convincing or as acceptable as 'I nearly had an accident in my Porsche, yesterday'.


In the following example, the idea is to work out which is the most persuasive, which is too presumptive, or the least confident.


'You wouldn't want to go out with me, would you?'
'If you go out with me, we could go to dinner and then the theatre if you want.'
'Would you like to go out with me? We could go to dinner and after the theatre.'
'When you go out with me, we'll go to dinner and then the theatre.'
'Before you go out with me, think about where you'd like to have dinner and which play you would like to see.'
'Let's have dinner at the Italian place and then go to this theatre play I read about.'

The meaning of each is interpreted differently. You presuppose the differences.


Presuppositions are very powerful. If you presuppose what your patient doesn't want to have questioned, then you give them lots of choices, and yet have all of the choices presuppose the response you want.

Simple presuppositions of existence

All nouns are presuppositions but especially useful are real names and pronouns (him, her etc.) as the existence of a real person provides a kind of witness or testimonial that verifies something.


These are simple presuppositions. By naming something you assume that it exists.

Complex Presuppositions

There are many more complicated grammatical structures that include presuppositions. The following list is a guide to the kind of phrases you can use and is not intended to be an complete analysis
  • 1. Relative Clauses
    A noun followed by a phrase beginning with who, which, or that.
    Example: The men who had visited us that day.


  • 2. Subordinate Clauses of Time
    Clauses that begin with words like before, after, during, as, since, prior, when, while, etc.
    Example: "Do you want to sit down while you go into trance?" This directs attention to the question of sitting down or not, and presupposes that a trance will happen.


  • 3. Cleft Sentences
    Sentences beginning with 'It was' or 'It is' followed by a noun.
    Example: It was the extra pressure which shattered the window.


  • 4. Pseudo-Cleft Sentence
    Identified by the form 'What.. is...'
    Example: What he hopes to do is to become well liked.


  • 5. Stressed Sentences
    Voice stress
    Example: If it was MY HUSBAND he talked to then we're in trouble.


  • 6. Complex Adjectives
    New, old, former, present, previous, etc.
    Example: If she wears his new ring, I'll be very surprised.


  • 7. Ordinal Numerals
    Ordinals like first, second, third, fourth, another, etc., imply an order that might not exist and presupposes if the first thing happens then the second must happen.

    Example: The first thing you may notice is an unusual feeling, the second will be your eyes closing and third will be a deep hypnotic trance.


  • 8. Comparatives
    -er, more, less
    Example: If you know better riders than Sue does, tell me who they are.
    'If you know better riders than Kim, tell me who they are'.


  • 9. Comparative as
    . . . as x as . . .
    Example: If her daughter is as funny as her husband is, we'll all enjoy ourselves.


  • 10. Repetitive Cue Words
    Words like: too, also,either, again, back, etc.
    Example: If she tells me that again, I'll kiss her.


  • 11. Repetitive Verbs and Adverbs
    verbs and adverbs begin ning with re-, for example, repeatedly, return, restore, retell, replace, renew, etc.
    Example: If he returns before I leave, I want to talk to him.


  • 12. Qualifiers
    only, even, except, just, etc.
    Example: Only Amy saw the bank robbers.


  • 13. Change-of place verbs
    come, go, leave, arrive, depart, enter, etc.
    Example: If Sam has left home, he is lost.


  • 14. Change-of Time Verbs and Adverbs
    begin, end, stop, start, continue, proceed, already, yet, still, anymore.
    Example: My bet is that Harry will continue to smile.


  • 15. Change-of State Verbs
    change, transform, turn into, become, ..
    Example: If Mae turns into a hippie, I'll be surprised.


  • 16. Tactive Verbs and Adjectives
    odd, aware, know, realize, regret, etc.
    Example: It is odd that she called me at midnight.


  • 17. Commentary Adjectives and Adverbs
    Lucky, fortunately, far out, out of, sight, groovy, bitch in, innocently, happily, necessarily
    Example: It's far out that you understand your dog's feelings.


  • 18. Counterfactual Conditional Clauses
    verbs having subjunctive tense.
    Example: If you had listened to me, you wouldn't be in the mess you are in now.


  • 19. Contrary-to-Expectation
    Use 'should'
    Example: If you should decide that you want to talk to me, I'll be outside


  • 20. Selectional Restrictions
    Statements that are not logical.
    Example: If my boyfriend gets pregnant, I'll be surprised.


  • 21. Questions
    Example: Who ate all the grapes? Implies Someone ate all the grapes and that I want to know who.


  • 22. Negative Questions
    Example: Didn't you want to talk to me?


  • 23. Rhetorical Questions
    Example: Who cares whether you show up or not?


  • 24. Spurious not
    Example: I wonder if you're not being a little too sensitive.


  • 25. Use of "Or."
    The word "or" can be used to presuppose that at least one of several alternatives will happen.
    For example: "Will it be your right hand or your left hand that will lift first


  • 26. Awareness Predicates
    Words like know, aware, realize, notice, etc. can be used to presuppose the rest of the sentence. The only question is if the listener is aware of whatever point you are making.
    "Perhaps you are aware that you are in a deep trance state"
    "You may notice that everything seems very different now"

If any of the presuppositions are not explained in any details this is probably because they are covered in more detail later.