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On Interpratation   

time, and always form a predicate, there is no specified name for this

variety; but let them be called indefinite verbs, since they apply

equally well to that which exists and to that which does not.

Similarly 'he was healthy', 'he will be healthy', are not verbs, but

tenses of a verb; the difference lies in the fact that the verb

indicates present time, while the tenses of the verb indicate those

times which lie outside the present.

Verbs in and by themselves are substantival and have significance,

for he who uses such expressions arrests the hearer's mind, and

fixes his attention; but they do not, as they stand, express any

judgement, either positive or negative. For neither are 'to be' and

'not to be' the participle 'being' significant of any fact, unless

something is added; for they do not themselves indicate anything,

but imply a copulation, of which we cannot form a conception apart

from the things coupled.


A sentence is a significant portion of speech, some parts of which

have an independent meaning, that is to say, as an utterance, though

not as the expression of any positive judgement. Let me explain. The

word 'human' has meaning, but does not constitute a proposition,

either positive or negative. It is only when other words are added

that the whole will form an affirmation or denial. But if we

separate one syllable of the word 'human' from the other, it has no

meaning; similarly in the word 'mouse', the part 'ouse' has no meaning

in itself, but is merely a sound. In composite words, indeed, the

parts contribute to the meaning of the whole; yet, as has been pointed

out, they have not an independent meaning.

Every sentence has meaning, not as being the natural means by

which a physical faculty is realized, but, as we have said, by

convention. Yet every sentence is not a proposition; only such are

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