Approaching pragmatics as the study of the use of language, this chapter works through a series of everyday uses of language and shows how even apparently trivial interactions are emergent, underdetermined and exhibit prototypical speaker meaning properties, including context-sensitivity. The approach taken invites reader participation. Amongst the topics discussed are the role of optimality in pragmatics as well as constraints and metapragmatic marking. Several key terms are introduced and exemplified, including deixis, relevance and speech acts. The chapter also touches on areas studied in Conversation Analysis, such as next-turn proof procedure. The aim of the chapter is to establish an understanding base for the chapters that follow, whose focus is on intentionality, inference, indexicality, the role of context in language understanding, and politeness phenomena.