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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000361.txt from 1996/01

From: "Lorne G. Buick" <mcheramy@-----.CA>
Subj: Re: cork grease (pedantic note on language)
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 1996 19:56:18 -0500

>One of the recent posts on this subject stated that cork grease had been
>used in lieu of lip balm because somebody had forgotten their Chapstick
>while away from home. In light of Lisa's enviro-San Franciscan
>lifestyle, the obvious question is begged: Can lip balm be used as cork
>grease?
>

To "beg the question" does not mean "to suggest a question" or beg for a
question to be asked: it means (according to the OED) "assume truth of
thing to be proved or thing equivalent to it, evade difficulty". This is
one of my pet linguistic peeves and unfortunately I can never think of a
good example to demonstrate it, but when you ask a question and the reply
begins "Well, obviously..." that's usually a clue that someone's about to
beg the question. ;-)

I realize that the English language is constantly evolving, and when
"everybody" uses a word or phrase a certain way, then that becomes its
accepted meaning. I'm just a reactionary in this regard. My dream in life
is to win the lottery and become a free-lance proofreader, travelling the
continent correcting spelling with a chain-saw...

pedantically yours, LGB

   
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