i newspaper, December 27, 2017

This does not ‘beg’ the question, it ‘raises’ the question. Begging the question is a very specific usage which is rarely needed. Also known as a circular argument, it involves making a firm conclusion on the basis of an arguable proposition. For example: ‘Why did God make parasitic worms?’ This begs (or avoids) the question of whether God exists. You can find out infinitely more about this at


The same piece in the i newspaper featured this caption:

This is the first time I have seen viral used in a comparative way, and I don’t like it. This suggests that you can have ‘mildly viral’ or ‘almost viral’ or ‘very viral indeed’. I would say that ‘viral’ cannot be qualified – it is either viral or it is not. No doubt everyone will soon be using it like this, though.


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