T. S. Eliot

AL- Kufa University
College of Education
English Department
Teacher assistant:Haider Gabr
MA. English
I. A. Richard
The four kinds of meaning
General Information
About the Author:Ivor Armstrong Richard (1893) is one of the major critics of
the twentieth century. He is the pioneer of the new
Criticism. He is supported to be the most influential theorist
of the modern age. He is particularly interested in
psychology. It is with him that the scientific psychology
enters the field of literary criticism. I. A. Richard is an
advanced of a close textual and verbal study and analysis of
a work art. Principles of Literary Criticism, Practical Criticism
and Coleridge on Imagination are some of his important
critical works.
A bout the Essay:The four kinds of Meaning is the
essay which forms the first chapter
of the third part of Richards’ work
The Practical Criticism. As the title
shows the essay deals with four
types of meaning which are also
functions of language.
In The four kinds of Meaning . I. A. Richard
speaks about the four types of meaning of
words. He also calls them the function of
According to Richard, the important fact
about the study of literature is that there
several contributory meaning of different types.
Language, particularly that of poetry, has
several function to perform simultaneously. Of
the many, four types of functions are
noteworthy . They can be explained as fellows:-
1) Sense: According to the first function of
language is Sense. Richard means something
that is communicated by the plain literal
meaning of the word. The speaker speaks to
communicates something and the listener
expects something to be said or communicate.
Words are used to present to the listener
some items for consideration. They are also
used to excite in the listeners some thought
about these items.
2) Feeling: The second kind of
meaning is Feeling. It refers to
emotions, emotional attitudes, will,
desire, pleasure, un-pleasure and
the like. When the speaker speaks
something, he has a feeling about it.
He uses language to express such
feeling which are “nuances of
3) Tone: the third kind of meaning is
tone. It means the writers’ attitude
to his reader. The writer chooses his
words and arrange them keeping in
mind the kind of readers who are
likely to read his work. There is a
kind of relation between the writer
and the reader. “Tone” reflect the
awareness of his relation
4) Intention: The fourth kind of meaning is
intention which means the aim of the
writer. It may be conscious or
unconscious. It refers to the effect one
tries to produce. It modifies the
speaker’s expression. It controls the
emphasis and shapes the arrangements.
It draws attention to something which
has importance. It has special
importance in dramatic and semidramatic litreture.
According to Richard, sometimes, the shift
of the above function is noticed.
Different functions will prove to be
predominant in deferent situation. For
example in a scientific treatise, “sense”
will predominant , while in political
speeches, intention becomes more
important. In the same way, in poetry,
feeling will become more dominant.

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