Sunday, April 22, 2007

Begging for Help For 'Beg the Question'

For reasons I couldn't begin to explain, I'm hearing people (from journalists, to fiction writers, to co-workers) use the phrase 'beg the question' with numbing regularity. Or rather, I'm hearing people mis-use the phrase 'beg the question' with numbing regularity.

To 'beg the question' does not mean to invite the question, to prompt the question, to encourage the obvious question. To beg the question is to answer a question with circular logic (i.e. 'the federal government is inefficient because it wastes so much money.' Wasting money is another another way of saying that it's inefficient; it does not answer the question 'Why?'

See here for a more thorough explanation.

Coming Soon... debunking the myth that ree-la-tors actually exist (and sell houses for a living).

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