No, esteemed author friends. “Begs the question” does not mean “raises the question.” What is our language coming to? I sound like a pedant, but honestly … the rash of “begging the questions” we’re now seeing everywhere, even on news shows and in presumably “edited” books, is enough to drive an editor around the bend.
People think it sounds cool to say “begs the question,” rather than “raises the question,” but they’re betraying their ignorance. If they had studied philosophy in college, they’d know that “begging the question” refers to a type of loopy logic error. For a good explanation of what the term really means, and a chuckle or two as well, visit this website dedicated to stamping out misuse of the phrase.
But here is the meaning in a nutshell. “Begging the question” is a circular argument or an unsubstantiated argument. If your husband says the seaside is a better place to visit than the mountains but can’t give a good reason, you can tell him he’s begging the question. If your buddy says his football team is better than yours because it’s the best, you can tell him he’s begging the question.
But if you want to ask that a particular point be considered, you’re raising a question, not begging the question. Big difference. Spread the word.
Jessi Rita Hoffman … book editing by an industry professional