Natural language, especially English, often does not follow the rules of logic. English is extremely inconsistent and depends heavily on context. It’s also extremely easy to trip up when using the language, or to play linguistic games to cloud the true meaning of an issue. Case in point is when President Clinton disputed the meaning of the word “is” in his statement to the special prosecutor regarding his affair with Monica Lewinsky:
Q: Mr. President, I want to, before I go into a new subject area, briefly go over something you were talking about with Mr. Bittman. The statement of your attorney, Mr. Bennett, at Paula Jones deposition, “Counsel is fully aware” – it’s page 54, line 5 – “Counsel is fully aware that Ms. Lewinsky has filed, has an affidavit which they are in possession of saying that there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton”. That statement is made by your attorney in front Judge Susan Webber Wright, correct?
A: That’s correct.
Q: That statement is a completely false statement. Whether or not Mr. Bennett knew of your relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, the statement that there was “no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton,” was an utterly false statement. Is that correct?
A: It depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is. If the – if he – if “is” means is and never has been that is not – that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.