Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'Begging the Question' At Qantas Over Another Safety Incident

I'm obviously no grammarian schoolmarm, but it drives me nuts the way you see the media mangle variations of "Begs the question," evidently under the faulty assumption that it means "Demands that the question be asked."

Nah-uh. Here's a definition of begging the question:

A Qantas spokesman was asked if a malfunction that knocked out onboard radar during a 12-hour flight today from Los Angeles to Auckland created a safety concern.

"None at all. Otherwise they wouldn't have operated the flight," she replied.

That's begging the question. And considering the spate of mishaps involving Qantas jets in recent months, it's also pushing the luck.


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