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Begs the Question.

I am sure that many times a day I write or speak in a grammatically poor way. I am probably even doing it in this post, but it really irritates me when I hear people use the phrase begs the question incorrectly. It irritates me even more when I hear it on TV or radio, and I hear it a lot on the show "Ugly Betty."

To beg the question is to use a circular argument to prove something, for example, "The best cars are VWs, because VW makes the best cars." It does not mean "raises the obvious question."

Sadly I know that what I type about it here will make little difference, since it has already taken root as a cliche to mean "raises the obvious question."

Even so I will continue to get irritated when I hear it.

And just for a fun: Logical Fallacies.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
Being precise and accurate is a good thing, but the English language is not set in stone. It evolves with usage. The important thing is that people are able to communicate with each other. If people "break" the rules, but can still communicate (or perhaps even communicate better by breaking the rules), then there's nothing wrong with that. You just need to go with the flow. Don't be a language nazi.
Nov. 21st, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
I understand that language evolves, but there are certain areas where I really wish that it wouldn't. Like medicine. A good is example is the meaning of homeopathy. It has a specific meaning, but it often used to mean all natural or holistic. That can lead to miscommunication as the listener and speaker are thinking of two different meanings for the same word.

With "begs the question" which comes from the jargon of logic, it just irritates me to see it misused, even though the meaning is almost always clear.

Oh and if makes you feel better, previously this year I finally accepted blog as a real word. :)

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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