The nuttiness of the English language

English is a notoriously difficult language to learn. My parents are Finnish and Filipino, respectively, and while I don’t speak either of those languages, I can read them aloud near-perfectly. This is because, compared to English, they are easy! There are no silent letters and each letter is pronounced only one way. It’s a dream.

English, on the other hand. Yikes. I think I love it so much because it’s so impossible and weird. Case in point: the video on this page my husband showed me which demonstrates how the I Before E “rule” should, by rights, take 40 seconds to recite.

Posted in Language.

How to use “begs the question”

This one isn’t actually a pet peeve of mine, but my husband’s. However, I think it’s an interesting one so I’m sharing it today.

Before I met my husband, I thought, like many others, that “begging the question” was the same as “raising the question” – like, “It’s Donut Friday, which begs the question – why am I not eating a donut right now?” It turned out, that’s totally incorrect.

“Begging the question” is actually a logical fallacy. Sounds complicated, but basically, begging the question is a statement that assumes its conclusion is proven correct without any evidence. Like this:

“If donuts weren’t delicious, then everyone wouldn’t eat them.”

In this sentence, the assumption is being made that its conclusion – everyone eats donuts – is true, without any proof of that. Just stating something doesn’t make it true. It’s also using that assumption as evidence that donuts are delicious. For these reasons, this sentence is begging the question.

Posted in Spelling & Grammar.