Begging the Question

Writing about the etymology of the word clock yesterday reminded me of when I wrote about the word to decimate recently, and how people are fond of citing its original meaning as being to reduce by 10%, even though that’s not true.

As I said before, I can understand people having this misconception, and I can understand the instinct to correct people. There have always been people who’ve acted this way about language, but recently I’ve noticed more and more people taking such a prescriptive approach to English.

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