WordPlay

I Beg Your Question?

by  Irving Washington –Guest Columnist

“Now, Sir… Do you still beat your wife every night? Answer yes or no!”

A question like this, asked by a wife’s divorce attorney, can be quite damaging to her husband’s chances in court. This old lawyers’ trick is called “begging the question.”

To beg the question:
To assume the truth of the very point raised in a question—Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd edition unabridged

To beg the question:
To take for granted the matter in dispute, to assume without proof.Oxford English Dictionary

Oh well, all’s fair in love an war.

Unfortunately, this phrase “beg the question,” has lately been discovered by the American media. As usual, they’ve got it all wrong,  confusing  “beg the question” with “raise the question.”

“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose to nine point five per cent last month… ” intones Somebody on The Evening News with Somebody. He takes off his glasses and looks concerned before continuing.

“…This statistic, of course, begs the question of extending unemployment benefits.”

Yes, Somebody’s got it all wrong. He has no idea of what it really means to “beg the question.”  He should have said,
“raises the question.”

Somebody never uses a dictionary, since he has spellcheck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: