OT - "It begs the question"

Submitted by Section 1 on February 1st, 2014 at 3:34 PM

I know that there are a great many students of all levels on the MGoBoard, in addition to many post-graduates who are interested in writing.  There are STEM students who, despite their technical orientation, wish to learn better writing and communication skills.  God bless them all.  There are liberal arts students whose future careers in education, journalism, the law, etc., depend upon being skilled communicators.

One of several basic grammatical mistakes that I see in comment writing at MGoBlog is the misuse of the syllogism, "It begs the question."  People -- young students, I presume -- frequently write, "it begs the question," when they really mean "it raises the question."

This issue of misuse comes up so frequently, that a web site was devoted to the annoying error.  And then, linking to that site, Roy Peter Clark of The Poynter Institute took the time to write this post at Poynter.com.

So don't be a jerk, and misuse the phrase, "it begs the question."  Underclass students in English composition ought to know this.  No self-respecting professional should commit this mistake in usage.  The only explanation for the error seems to be people who think that they know a little bit about writing, and who want to appear sophisticated, but who are in fact poseurs.




February 1st, 2014 at 7:52 PM ^

which differs from what OP stated how it should be used.

I pointed out that in precise usage, it does not mean “to raise the question” or “to beg that the question be asked” or even “to evade the question.” Rather, it refers to a circular argument; it means “to use an argument that assumes as proved the very thing one is trying to prove.”


February 1st, 2014 at 4:57 PM ^

"Welcome to the February Festivus Thread. Let your OT rage direct your keyboard as you gripe about things you could easily skip over. Or take a whack at the moderators. justingoblue? More like justingohome. BiSB? Was the vowel not cool enough for you when you squashed your name to fit on one line of the census form?"


February 1st, 2014 at 5:30 PM ^

JGB, you only have anything original to say about hockey or softball and you're everyone's least favorite mod- boom, roasted. LSA, you like ponies and stuff nobody has ever heard of- boom, roasted. BiSB, your name is gibberish and [pretends to throw ball] you fell for that- boom, roasted.