More Question Begging

rogersgeorge on July 7th, 2016

“Begging the question” is one of my favorite solecisms to complain about, and I’ve mentioned it a couple times. One of my favorite comic strips, David Malki’s Wondermark just posted two (count ’em) strips on this very subject. Here they are. Strip 1 (actually, it’s strip number 1234, no lie.):

There's nothing quite so satisfying on a cold winter morning as a heaping pile of hot, saucy farmer balls.

And here’s the other one:

The podcast is actually about the ludicrousness of dog shows, but there are lots of tangents.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out what’s going on.

Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed

Getting Things Right

rogersgeorge on May 27th, 2016

I often show mistakes in writing and use them as starting points for how to do it correctly. Here are a few places where they did it right!

One of my favorite things to complain about is the expression “begs the question.” It’s a logical fallacy in which someone offers the conclusion as evidence for the conclusion! Usually people use the expression to mean something completely different: “begs us to ask the question.” Or in this case, “…raises the question.”


I recommend you follow the link. It’s the one for May 17. When you get there, click the British flag in the upper left corner. The essay is too long to include here. So if you think a topic is begging you to ask (or raise) a question, say that.

I recently mentioned the problem of people misusing “affect” and “effect.” Here’s an example of using “effect” as a verb, meaning “to cause,” correctly. (Most of the time “effect” is a noun, meaning “a result.”)

Finding out who they are, and where they come from, is a quest being taken up by a handful of vocal advocates slowly effecting a change. Deborah Halber reports.

It’s in an article on Digg about identifying bodies.

Another one I love to hate is the expression “the exception proves the rule.” I haven’t seen anyone getting this right; I’ll put it in a post when I do.