Outburst #1: Abuse of English

Occasionally
I must scream.

 

Those of us who treasure our
language have become accustomed to its abuse – mismatched pronouns, nouns used
as verbs, confusion of adverbs and adjectives, etc. – increasingly even by
“educated” people.  But the two
following examples are driving me up the wall.
Otherwise articulate people in the media and semi-articulate people in
politics are using these mis-definitions seemingly because they heard someone
else do it.

 

“existential”  This word does NOT mean “relating to
existing,” as in “an existential threat to Israel.”  It is a philosophical term dealing with human
existence, logic and such concerns. “An existential threat to Israel”
does not mean a threat to Israel’s
existence but rather something about the meaning of Israel’s
being.

 

begs
the question” 
This does NOT
mean something suggests another question to be considered, but rather it means
the statement is a logical fallacy in which a premise or assumption is employed
to demonstrate its own truth, a type of petitio principii.

 

OK, enough of this.  Please proceed to the next post about Hannibal’s
last years.

 

 

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