Mr. Ward,

How Doth

Biden Halt?

Posted by the Editor, Christian McShaffrey

Mark Ward’s “central example” of false friends in the Authorized Version is the word “halt” in 1 Kings 18:21, “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

In that passage, the prophet asked the people how long they would falter or limp between two opinions, but Mr. Ward is convinced that modern readers will miss that meaning because the word “halt” is more commonly used to describe the action of stopping (e.g., the troops halted at the river’s edge).

Mr. Ward has been offering this as a key proof of his false friends theory since early 2018, but just last week the modern world proved him wrong with dozens of news outlets using the word “halting” to describe President Joe Biden’s debate performance. Examples include AP News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of India, etc.

Anticipating that Mr. Ward might accuse the news outlets of being unwittingly deceived by this alleged false friend, the headlines and articles prove otherwise by employing synonyms like “stumbling” and “uneven” to describe the President’s performance. The phrase “tripping over his sentences” was even used.

We invite Mr. Ward to admit that while the word “halt” may be rare, it is has most definitely not fallen out of modern usage and is not, therefore, an unintelligible false friend in Authorized Version.