Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lingistic Pet Peeves

One of my college philosophy professors imparted on me a deep annoyance when people use the phrase "...which begs the question..." when they mean to say "... which raises the question..."

Begging the question is a type of logical fallacy.  If something causes you to ask a particular question, then it is proper to say that it raises that question.

And don't even get me started on store clerks and other service personnel who use the atrocious, nonsensical query, "Can I help who's ever next?"  Just once, I want to see someone respond by saying, "Well, I'm next in line, but I haven't always been next, so I guess I don't qualify.  Did you mean to ask if you could help whoever is next?"  I would do it, but I'm not that cruel.

Words matter.  And that includes the order you put them in.  The More You Know.*

*With apologies to NBC Universal, of course.

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