Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Behind the quote

James J. Kilpatrick covers "presume" vs. "assume," and propriety during Stanley's meeting with Livingstone.


At 1:16 AM, September 01, 2004, Blogger Peter Fisk said...

As always, Nicole, thanks for the cool link.

I tend to favor Stanley's use of "presume."

Here's the full American Heritage usage note:

[i]presume, presuppose, postulate, posit, assume
These verbs signify to take something for granted or as being a fact. To presume is to suppose that something is reasonable or possible in the absence of proof to the contrary: “I presume you're tired after the long ride” (Edith Wharton). Presuppose can mean to believe or suppose in advance: It is unrealistic to presuppose a sophisticated knowledge of harmony in a beginning music student. Postulate and posit denote the assertion of the existence, reality, necessity, or truth of something as the basis for reasoning or argument: “We can see individuals, but we can't see providence; we have to postulate it” (Aldous Huxley). To assume is to accept something as existing or being true without proof or on inconclusive grounds: “We must never assume that which is incapable of proof” (G.H. Lewes). [/i]


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