AbstractClassical intensional semantic frameworks, like Montague’s Intensional Logic (IL), identify intensional identity with logical equivalence. This criterion of co-intensionality is excessively coarse-grained, and it gives rise to several well-known difficulties. Theories of fine-grained intensionality have been been proposed to avoid this problem. Several of these provide a formal solution to the problem, but they do not ground this solution in a substantive account of intensional difference. Applying the distinction between operational and denotational meaning, developed for the semantics of programming languages, to the interpretation of natural language expressions, offers the basis for such an account. It permits us to escape some of the complications generated by the traditional modal characterization of intensions.