But what - asked de Saussure - allows the sign to mean something, does carry a value of  This may not be the word, because, for example, the word "onion" has a different meaning in the phrase "sports a bow" and "? onions in the garden. " In each case, the word "onion" is important because of its place in the whole phrase (another phrase is the same word can have a completely different meaning). And each phrase just matters due to its place in the larger supply and, ultimately, the entire linguistic structure. Any word itself without significance, as it may have completely different meanings depending on the context or structure into which it is placed.