When Begging Is Off
by S. M. Hutchens
The misuse of "begs the question" to mean "prompts or elicits the question" instead of "restates the question" is becoming so widespread and common—used by those who should know better and passed by their editors—that the most advanced language doyens will soon agree that the meaning of the phrase has changed. There is some truth in the observation that if you abuse something long enough, it no longer looks like it did. Perhaps the next thing to go, since it is the most common public grammatical mistake, I guess, is the idea that apostrophe's are just as valid on plural's as they are on possessive's.
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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