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Sentences vs Utterances

Strictly speaking it’s not sentences but utterances which bear truth.

‘You have to turn your headlamps on
when it’s raining in Sweden.’

How do I know it’s raining in Sweden

‘Dogs must be carried.’ / ‘Shoes must be worn.’

‘This recently became my favourite new song.’

Not everyone agrees about this. Consider for instance Devitt and Sterelny’s 1999 textbook.

‘the core of a sentence’s meaning is its truth condition; that is, the property of a sentence which, together with the world, makes it true or false.’

Devitt and Sterelny, 1999 p. 11

But what are utterances?

They’re actions which typically occur in, and are constitutive of, lingiustic communication. Hard to define because not all utterances are communicative.
Part of the point is to avoid distinguishing oral and manual communication.


Is timeless.

Can be uttered by different people.

Is a structure of words.

Cannot be true or false (strictly speaking).


Has a date.

Has a particular utterer or utterers.

Is a structure of events.

Can be true or false.