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Rhetorical Questions 01
Can you spot rhetorical questions?

Rhetorical Questions 01

Rhetorical questions expect no answer. They are often used in articles and if you read the newspaper, you'll see them a lot. Use them to grab and hold your readers' attention as you write.

Rhetorical questions are used so frequently that it is easy not to notice them at all. But in many cases, the concept has had to be explained in childhood. For example, a teacher might say to someone whispering in class: "Do you have something you'd like to share with everybody?" Most people understand that this is a rhetorical question. The person to whom it is addressed is meant to think for a moment about the fact that they wouldn't want to tell everyone what they were whispering about and to keep quiet instead. Sometimes people don't understand the difference between rhetorical questions and questions which do expect a response. If someone were to answer the teacher's question with a yes and an explanation, the teacher is likely to explain that the question was rhetorical and what that means (on the other hand, the teacher might think the response to be not so much a misunderstanding as a deliberate attempt to sidetrack the class).

You can use rhetorical questions in many ways to engage with your audience. Pay attention to the variety of methods and purposes of using this device.

Test your knowledge of rhetorical questions in this quiz on the subject.

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1.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Thinking about current affairs.
End world poverty
Poverty in the world must end
The world must end poverty
Who knows when poverty in the world will end
"Who knows when .......?" is the rhetorical question
2.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Wondering at technological advances.
It is incredible that man has landed on the moon
Man has landed on the moon - incredible
We thought that man would land on the moon
Who would have thought that man would land on the moon
You won't forget the question mark when writing rhetorical questions, will you?
3.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Changing a speed limit.
Cars crash on that road
Cars travel too fast on that road
How many more cars will crash on that road
That road is the scene of many car crashes
Rhetorical questions invite you to think about a solution or a possible answer
4.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Managing a company.
Improve your output now
Who can say if you'll be able to improve your output
You must improve your output
Your output is being improved
Interest your reader: use a rhetorical question to begin. The rhetorical question, "Who can say if you'll be able to improve your output?", invites your reader to continue reading in search of the answer
5.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Thinking about an impossibility.
Are you joking
It is a joke
It's a joke; it can't really happen
What a joke
Remember to use a question mark!
6.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Environment
Earth's resources are being wasted
They waste earth's resources
We are wasting earth's resources
When will we stop wasting earth's resources
The other three options are statements, requiring full stops at the end. "When will we stop wasting earth's resources?" would need a question mark, of course!
7.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Life's trials.
Life is a constant trial
Oh dear
Why me
Woe is me
A rhetorical question uses a question mark: "Why me?"
8.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Detective novels.
Become a detective
Find the villain
Follow the clues and solve the mystery
Whodunnit
Trick question! "Whodunnit" is a noun created from the rhetorical question "Who done it?" Whodidit just wouldn't have the same ring to it, would it?
9.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Thinking about possible future scientific advances.
Curing diseases might become possible
Diseases might become curable
We might be able to cure diseases
Who can tell which diseases might become curable
Rhetorical questions often begin with: "Who can .......?"
10.
Select a suitable rhetorical question to use when writing an article on the following topic.

Discouraging smoking.
Don't smoke please
How many times must I tell you to stop
Stop smoking
You must stop smoking please
Rhetorical questions are not actually inviting an immediate answer

 

Author:  Sue Daish

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