Close this search box.

“Begging the Question” does not mean “Raising a Question” by Kenechukwu Agwu, Esq.

Many people erroneously confuse “begging the question” for “raising a question”. You hear expressions like “…that then begs the question …” when in actual sense what the speaker meant to say was “… that then raises the question…”. The frequency of this erroneous use even by lawyers, led to a conversation with the learned author and writing mentor, Chinua Asuzu. The outcome of that conversation motivated this piece.

The term “begging the question” has its origin from the Latin term “petitio principii”. It is also said to be a translation from Latin to the English. “Petitio” means to petition, or to appeal to, or to beg; “principii” is the principle which the reasoning seeks to explore, i.e. the issue in question.

If you meet a friend who says to you “No one is permitted to use the gymnasium on weekends, since people are permitted to use the gymnasium only on week days.” The immediate question that comes to mind, would be, what then is the actual reason for not permitting people to use the gymnasium on weekends?”You then see that the premise does not support the conclusion.

“Begging the question” is therefore, a logical fallacy in which a premise is assumed to be true without warrant or in which what is to be proved is implicitly taken for granted. It means “to base a conclusion on an assumption that is as much in need of proof or demonstration as the conclusion itself.”

In 2004, at a press conference defending the war in Iraq, George W. Bush said “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaida is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida.”  This presents yet another good example of a statement that “begs the question”.

For more clarity, let us reiterate that “Begging the question” is a term of logical art and is too often abused by speakers and writers who erroneously synonymize the expression with “raising a (follow-up) question.”


  • Aristotle, Sophistical Refutations 5 (167b: 1 – 15).
  • Garner’s Modern English Usage, 4th ed. 103.
  • Merriam Webster Dictionary
  • Petitio Principii (Begging the Question) -


Sunday Kenechukwu Agwu, Esq.,LL.M, ACIArb.,AICMC, PGDE is a Nigerian based legal practitioner, clinical law teacher, education enthusiast, justice sector development enthusiast, and community justice educator  who writes from Abuja. 


This work is published under the free legal awareness project of Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( The writer was not paid or charged any publishing fee. You too can support the legal awareness projects and programs of Sabi Law Foundation by donating to us. Donate here and get our unique appreciation certificate or memento.


This publication is not a piece of legal advice. The opinion expressed in this publication is that of the author(s) and not necessarily the opinion of our organisation, staff and partners.


🛒 Take short courses, get samples/precedents and learn your rights at

🎯 Publish your legal articles for FREE by sending to:

🎁 Receive our free Daily Law Tips & other publications via our website and social media accounts or join our free whatsapp group: Daily Law Tips Group 6


Get updates on all the free legal awareness projects of Sabi Law (#SabiLaw) and its partners, via:

YouTube: SabiLaw

Twitter: @Sabi_Law

Facebook page: SabiLaw

Instagram: @SabiLaw.org_

WhatsApp Group: Free Daily Law Tips Group 6

Telegram Group: Free Daily Law Tips Group

Facebook group: SabiLaw




This publication is the initiative of the Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( Sabi Law Foundation is a Not-For-Profit and Non-Governmental Legal Awareness Organization based in Nigeria. It is the first of its kind and has been promoting free legal awareness since 2010.


As a registered not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation, Sabi Law Foundation relies on donations and sponsorships to promote free legal awareness across Nigeria and the world. With a vast followership across the globe, your donations will assist us to increase legal awareness, improve access to justice, reduce common legal disputes and crimes in Nigeria. Make your donations to us here  or contact us for sponsorship and partnership, via: or +234 903 913 1200.


Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Contact Support


Welcome! Log into your account