Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ah lernt sumthin nu!

"Now of course, that begs the question . . ."

Ever heard that phrase? Ever use it? I have, and what I thought I meant by it was that whatever I said raises a question that has to be answered. But this is just plain wrong! It's actually a philosophical phrase that describes a logical error in argument. (No, not the Monty Python type of argument.)

To "beg the question" means that you try to prove a point by assuming the point is true, like a circular argument. For example: Chocolate icecream is the best because everyone knows chocolate icecream is the best. This statement begs the question. Nifty, eh?

Whole bunch of nifty Common Errors in English out there. I've always known about irregardless. And the aural/oral distinction. What about you? Are there any quirky English errors you've been guilty of?