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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: January ::
Begging the Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0029  Thursday, 14 January 2010

[1] From:   Marcus Geduld <
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     Date:   Monday, 11 Jan 2010 22:46:47 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 21.0023 Begging the Question

[2] From:   Anthony Burton <
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     Date:   Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010 07:54:32 -0500
     Subj:   Re: SHK 21.0023 Begging the Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Marcus Geduld <
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Date:       Monday, 11 Jan 2010 22:46:47 -0500
Subject: 21.0023 Begging the Question
Comment:    Re: SHK 21.0023 Begging the Question

I think it IS time to accept defeat. Not only is the "wrong" usage the 
more common one, it's also an evocative phrase when used "incorrectly." 
The image is of a someone literally begging a question. The question is 
ignoring him, but he keeps begging and begging until the question has to 
give in and be expressed.

His constant dieting BEGGED the question: is he anorexic?

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Anthony Burton <
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Date:       Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010 07:54:32 -0500
Subject: 21.0023 Begging the Question
Comment:    Re: SHK 21.0023 Begging the Question

Tom Reedy inquires  "Is it time to admit defeat on this and accept that 
the term has migrated to a new meaning, which is 'brings up the  question?'"

God, no. Despite the proliferation of idiocies such as this one, most of 
them are likely as not to be verbal fads which, with any luck will drop 
out of currency in a year or so and abandon the phrase once  again only 
to informed users. Incidentally, I suppose its new meaning to be more 
like, "Raises a question which begs to be answered (or more often, 
batted about superficially and mindlessly)."

Remember (or reread) Orwell's great "Politics and the English Language," 
the optimistic conclusion of which is that the decline of careful usage 
and its consequent harm to clear thinking is something that can be reversed.

Tony

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