The UVic Writer's Guide

Begging The Question

A begged question presents a proposition that needs to be proved as if it needs no proof: "

 `Binsey Poplars' is a bad poem because it is most irritating poem Hopkins ever wrote."

The writer of this sentence is begging the question of the irritating nature of the poem. A better argument would be:

" `Binsey Poplars' suffers from a surfeit of literary devices."

The statement still expresses an opinion, but the more precise and objective language suggests a way in which the writer can support the claim.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 24, 1995