Blue Sky Blue Streak

Linguists postulate that human speech has the potential to be infinitely creative, meaning that our languages can produce an unlimited set of unique, nonrepeated sentences. In fact, some say that the majority of actual human utterances are composed of such unique sentences.

I am putting this theory to the test by asking people to utter unique sentences, sentences which have likely never been said before and will never be said again. The sentences are then placed on a blue sky and displayed here, where their uniqueness can be tested: if anyone has ever said one of these sentences, please email me, so that we can disqualify it from acting as evidence for creativity in human speech. Please note that simply reading the sentences aloud doesn’t count, it only counts if you have said the sentences in a naturally-occuring conversation or other utterance. Similarly, if you have not ever said any of these sentences, please write in as well, so that we can continue to build evidence in favor of their uniqueness and thus also the possibility for creativity in human speech. Any other comments on the sentences’ eligibility for this project, or their general characteristics (why is red such a prominent color choice?) are welcome.

You may also submit your own sentences. These must be sentences that you have said out loud, not merely typed. They must use real words and be grammatical, at least to the degree practiced by average fluent speakers of your language in everyday speech.

The following are all the sentences, shown on blue skies:

“There’s no such thing as too much toilet paper” has been disqualified as a unique sentence. One of our readers recounts having said this many times before, so it has been removed from the list and will no longer be considered as evidence of creativity in human speech.

“I will one day see the Cubs win the World Series” has now also been disqualified as a unique sentence by another of our readers.

Thanks to all of you who have contacted me about this. With our mounting evidence, we will hopefully soon be able to pass judgement on the question of infinite creativity in human speech.

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