Implicit content

Today’s Zits:

Jeremy’s parents don’t say this, but they intend to convey (something like) ‘…sit down and eat with us‘ and …pull up a chair at the table‘, but Jeremy chooses to disregard this possibility and pulls up a chair in front of the open refrigerator, so he can browse the food there.

The material in boldface is not actually elliptical, but represents approximations of implicit content, unexpressed material that a reasonable person might supply, given the context, conventions of social life (here, those governing modern American family life), and so on. You can see why Jeremy’s parents are nonplussed. The relevant nonplussed in NOAD2:

(of a person)  surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react: he would be completely nonplussed and embarrassed at the idea.

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