Bertrand Russel, On denoting
Mind, October 1905, pages 479-493.
When we say: "George IV wished to know whether so-and-so", or when we
say "So-and-so is surprising" or "So-and-so is true", etc., the
"so-and-so" must be a proposition. Suppose now that "so-and-so"
contains a denoting phrase. We may either eliminate this denoting
phrase from the subordinate proposition "so-and-so", or from the whole
proposition in which "so-and-so" is a mere constituent. Different
propositions result according to which we do. I have heard of a touchy
owner of a yacht to whom a guest, on first seeing it, remarked, "I
thought your yacht was larger than it is"; and the owner replied, "No,
my yacht is not larger than it is". What the guest meant was, "The
size that I thought your yacht was is greater than the size your yacht
is"; the meaning attributed to him is, "I thought the size of your
yacht was greater than the size of your yacht".