This statement is false: What does this one liner mean?

I just read this in a site of one-liners. Though this is grammatically correct, I wonder if it will have a solid meaning. Can we use such a sentence?


2 Answers 2


What does this sentence mean?


Can we use such a sentence?

are two independent question.

As for #2, one can certainly use the sentence to try to demonstrate the phenomenon of paradox (as per jwpat7 and the Wikipedia article).

As for #1, I surmise it depends on one's theory of meaning, which is covered in whole subareas of philosophy and linguistics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_(linguistics)).

One observation: the fact that an utterance does not have a determinate truth value does not mean that it has no meaning.

Ouch! and Do your homework! are utterances/sentences that share this property.


Of course it can be used. However, such a sentence should have an antecedent. A sentence that defines what the statement is. The same is the case with many other sentences. Examples:

The boy came closer.

It does not work with the equipment we have.

This was the first time my friend did it.

All of these sentences should have an antecedent. ::

I found a little boy alone in the park. The boy came closer.

My friend finally opened up to his wife about the differences. This was the first time my friend did it.

So, you see, a sentence can stand alone and have a meaning, but sometimes even such sentences should have one preceding them to make their meaning clear-cut. In short, sentences like yours can be used where its meaning is clear-cut.

  • 1
    The "this sentence" in the example refers to the sentence itself where there is no antecedent. It creates a paradox; but that doesn't mean it should have an antecedent. It is a classic example of paradox.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 7:30

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