A rhetorical question is a question that you ask without expecting an answer. The question might be one that does not have an answer. It might also be one that has an obvious answer but you have asked the question to make a point, to persuade or for literary effect.
Rhetorical Questions with Obvious Answers
Here are some answers of rhetorical questions that have answers that are very obvious, either because they ask about common facts or because the answer is suggested based on the context of the question.
These types of rhetorical questions are often asked to emphasize a point:
- Is the pope catholic?
- Is rain wet?
- You didn't possibly think I would say yes to that did you?
- Do you want to be a big failure for the rest of your life?
- Does a bear poop in the woods?
- Can fish swim?
- Can birds fly?
- Do dogs bark?
- Do cats meow?
- Do pigs fly?
- Is hell hot?
- Are you stupid?
- There is no point, is there?
- Is there anyone smarter than me?
- Can we do better next time?
- Do you want to be a success in this world?
- Is this supposed to be some kind of a joke?
- Are you kidding me?
- Do liars lie?
Rhetorical Questions That Have No Answers
- What is the meaning of life?
- Why do we go on?
- What's the matter with kids today?
- There's no hope, is there?
- How much longer can this injustice continue?
- How many times do I have to tell you not to yell in the house?
- Why me?
- But who's counting?
- Who cares?
- Why bother?
- How should I know?
- Could I possibly love you more?
When a Rhetorical Question Would be Asked
- Your girlfriend asks if you love her. You say "Is the pope catholic?" to suggest that it is obvious you love her.
- A parent is arguing with a child about the importance of good grades. The parent says "Do you want to live at home in the basement for the rest of your life?"
- Two men are having a disagreement in a bar. One says "Do you want me to punch you in the face?"
- A woman tells her husband she is pregnant and shows him the pregnancy test. He says "Are you serious?"
- A student fails to bring in his homework assignment. The teacher keeps him after class and says "Can we do better next time?"
- A boss is yelling at his staff member for a major mistake. He says "Do you want to get fired?"
- A child is asking for a very expensive toy. His parent says "Do you think that money just grows on trees?"
- A friend asks if you like hamburgers, which are your favorite meal. You say "Is rain wet?"
Now you see how rhetorical questions can be used to make a point and how they are asked without an expectation of a reply.
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Rhetorical Question Examples
By YourDictionaryA rhetorical question is a question that you ask without expecting an answer. The question might be one that does not have an answer. It might also be one that has an obvious answer but you have asked the question to make a point, to persuade or for literary effect.
A rhetorical question is a kind of question that is not meant to be answered. Rhetorical questions are used to make a point. This makes them different from Yes / No questions because the latter expect an answer.
Here is a quick review of Yes / No questions
Yes / No questions are asked to get a simple answer. They are usually answered with yes or no and an auxiliary verb.
Examples are given below.
Are you coming with me?
Yes, I am.
Would you like to go to the theater tonight?
No, I wouldn’t.
Did you know the answer?
Yes, I did.
Are you working in the garage?
Yes, I am.
Wh-questions are also used for getting information.
They are introduced by the following question words:
When / What time
How many / much / often / far / etc.
These questions should be answered in full sentences so that the listener gets the information they need.
Examples are given below.
What do you do?
I work at a bank.
Where do you live?
I live in New York.
What time does the train leave?
The train leaves at 6.30.
How far is it to the next railway station?
It is a 30 minute drive from here.
Rhetorical questions don’t expect an answer. They are asked with the objective of making people think.
A rhetorical question often has an implied meaning. Sometimes the person who asks the question does not want an answer. They are making a statement that the listener obviously knows.
For example, the rhetorical question ‘Do you know what time it is?’ simply means that you are late.