I’m writing a paper about reference and fiction, and out of curiosity, I googled the following 3 phrases.
(1) Santa Claus doesn’t exist.
(2) There is no Santa Claus.
(3) Santa Claus isn’t real.
(1) got 731 hits. (2) produced 5,660 hits, and (3) 1000 hits.
I’m not that surprised, because just before I went to Google the phrases I had written the following:
“First of all, it is worth pointing out that despite the popularity of [sentences like (1)] with philosophers they are actually slightly unusual. In ordinary conversation one would be more likely to utter (2) or (3).”
It was nice to have Google confirm my intuition about (2). I was rather surprised by the low incidence of (3) however, because to me it seems like the most natural formulation.
So, how does one go about citing a Google search?