Misusage? Yay, storytime !

Misusages are a gold mine for an English non-native speaker as I am.In fact,I can spot grammar mistakes in conversation websites-with no pleasure at all since I aim to get better.However, when misusage is pointed out by a native English speaker this means in all ways story time.  It is usually an ancient phrase that I will hear about precisely because of misusage. All in all, you misuse, I learn. Or we learn.

Shall we ?

Story 1 : This begs the question

Begging the question does not mean that a question must be asked. It’s circular reasoning.

It has more to do with philosophy than it has to do with grammar

The term “begging the question”, as this is usually phrased, originated in the 16th century as a mistranslation of the Latin petitio principii, which actually translates as “assuming the initial point”. The original phrase comes from Aristotle and literally means asking for the initial thing. 

Here are a few examples.



Many modern English speakers use beg the question to mean “bear the question”, “suggest the question,” “raise the question”, or “invite the question”.

It is common, even in good sources.For instance, in Cambridge Dictionary :

If a statement or situation begs the question, it causes you to askparticular question:

Spending the summer travelling around India is a great idea, but it does beg the question of how we can afford it.
To discuss the company’s future begs the question of whether it has a future.


The common misusage refers to begging as a synonym of asking,inviting  which is its standard definition.

So what are we to believe? And what should we say?

I have heard a few -good- English-speakers say that the phrase is so often misused that it is time the definition was altered to follow language evolution-or decay.

I personnally would love to hear this phrase in a debate or by a fictional lawyer (Martha Costello in Silk would be one).

So finally, should grammar define language or language tailor grammar? This begs the question.

Yeah, I know. Red-lipstick Martha Costello. Loved it.