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If someone utters the following sentence, are they committing themselves to the belief that the company is going to close down?

"John talked about the fact that the company is going to close down."

If so, consider the following definition of "show me the money" from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

used to tell someone to give or pay you a lot of money, rather than just talk about the fact that they will give it to you

https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/show-me-the-money

What puzzles me is the "fact." Does it similarly commit the speaker of "Show me the money!" to the belief that the other person will give them the money? But in actual use, does the expression really convey that belief on the part of the speaker?

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The true meaning of this phrase is that the speaker is referring to a known or proven fact.

Taken at face value, your example suggests that the closure of the factory is a fact known to the speaker - something that is going to happen. If it were not a fact, they might have said:

John talked about the rumour that the factory is closing down.

Sometimes this phrase is used to quote a fact in support of some other supposition, for example:

The fact that the factory has been struggling financially suggests it might have to close down.

However, like a lot of phrases, some native speakers use it meaninglessly. So, the fact that someone has said it doesn't necessarily mean they are quoting a known or established fact.

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  • Are you saying the "the fact that ..." in the OP is verbal deadwood and used meaninglessly?
    – Apollyon
    Dec 23, 2022 at 9:42
  • @Apollyon I couldn't possibly know that about your quote without context. Can the person speaking know for sure the business is closing? You asked if someone who uses this expression is "committing themselves" to it being a fact, and I'm just saying that some people do say it very loosely.
    – Astralbee
    Dec 23, 2022 at 11:50
  • Sorry, I didn't express my question very clearly. In the definition of "show me the money" quoted in the OP, is "the fact that" used very loosely?
    – Apollyon
    Dec 23, 2022 at 12:15
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Reading your question carefully, I believe you're asking about what is called a "speech act": that is, a real-world operation performed merely by saying something. For example: "I now pronounce you man and wife"; or "Britain now officially declares war against State X!"

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_act

Very obviously, saying that "J said X might close down" doesn't mean that you think X might close down, nor even that J thinks so (although apparently he had some reason to bring up the subject, which might be interesting).

If you are asking from a legal perspective, get a lawyer and not some Internet people. Good luck.

As far as this goes:

John talked about the fact that the company is going to close down.

If it's NOT a fact, then John can't have talked about it, because it doesn't exist (there are no untrue facts, by definition). It's just bad journalism.

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  • Then the definition quoted in the OP is a bad definition.
    – Apollyon
    Dec 24, 2022 at 16:26
  • His/her quoted definition is "show me the money", which is quite a different thing. Look at Wiktionary's entry here: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/color_of_someone%27s_money In any case this is going beyond the OP's question of whether saying "the fact that X" in some way implies factuality (on whose part??)
    – equin0x80
    Dec 24, 2022 at 18:44
  • It's not beyond the OP's question as it relates to "the fact that..." as well.
    – Apollyon
    Dec 25, 2022 at 2:08
  • I mean, the definition's use of "the fact that..." apparently does not adhere to the true meaning of "fact."
    – Apollyon
    Dec 25, 2022 at 2:09

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