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Every person has their rights.

  1. The sentence means the fact that all people have their rights.
  2. The sentence refers to the fact that all people have their rights.
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  • I think the first example should be, "the sentence means that all people have their rights/the sentence means that all people have their rights as a fact." The second example is better than the first one. Commented Dec 4, 2021 at 6:39
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    The language in your question is somewhat plodding. We usually say everyone rather than 'every person' and would probably say "Everyone has (their) rights." The sentence says everyone has (their) rights. It means (if you have to re-word it) we all have (our) rights. The sentence is about people and their rights. It might refer to everyone in Wales, or to human rights rather than civil rights. Commented Dec 4, 2021 at 6:43

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You'd probably be more likely to rephrase the original sentence as

"Everyone has rights."


Considering the verbs "means" and "refers to", it should be noted that it's somewhat unusual (although not impossible) to make statements which don't provide information. Both of the following sentences are tautological and self-evident.

  • "The statement 'the book is on the table' means the book is on the table".

  • "The statement 'the book is on the table' refers to the fact that the book is on the table."

99% of the time when you say ""means" and "refers to", you will be attempting to provide "information" by saying "X means Y", or "A refers to be B". Why say "X refers to X" if we already know "X refers to X"? It's sort of absurd. Right?

In any case, if you are still interested in saying that, we can focus on the grammar.

In terms of grammar, you may say "refers to the fact..." and it's fine.

You should not say "means the fact...".

You may say "means..." by itself. Or, "refers to the fact...". But not "means the fact".

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