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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the language category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

Begger Off

The one thing absolutely guaranteed to send me into a frothing rage is the misuse of the term begging the question. It’s even more annoying than the abuse of innocent apostrophes.

I am not alone: Beg The Question has a concise explanation of why it is absolutely not fucking acceptable to use beg the question when you mean raise the question, handy cards to print out and hand over to those guilty of abusing the phrase and even a range of t-shirts promoting proper use.

Thank you, Brownpau, for your campaigning zeal.

Posted at 6pm on 24/11/05 by Jack Mottram to the language category.
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  1. I’d just like to add the misuse of the tautological word reiterate. How many people will go over something again, again?

    (in memory of Mr. Davies)

    Posted by Donny at 6pm on 24.11.05

  2. The meaning of language is dictated by usage alone.

    Posted by Jez at 12am on 25.11.05

  3. (in memory of Mr. Davies)

    Is he dead? Hope not. I think of him whenever I use a semi-colon.

    The meaning of language is dictated by usage alone.

    For sure, but in this case the misuse robs us of a useful term, one worth keeping.

    Posted by Jack Mottram at 1pm on 25.11.05

  4. re, ‘the meaning of language is dictated by usage alone’:
    Usage by the noisiest majority, though? So if the mass of thickos can’t be arsed to distinguish between ‘imply’ and ‘infer’, those words just have to sacrifice their meanings? That’s like… bullying, of words. I can’t agree.

    Posted by hannah at 7pm on 28.11.05

  5. Add ,”The exception that proves the rule” to the pile. I regularly funny looks when I try to explain to people that they don’t use it correctly.

    The meaning of language is dictated by usage alone.

    Try telling that to lawyers.

    Posted by Gavin Montague at 2pm on 05.12.05

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