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Rhetorical Question Examples In Essays What Do You Do To Book

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. 

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Rhetorical Question Examples

By YourDictionary

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. 

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Can I ask rhetorical questions in persuasive essays? How will the reader answer the question?

Rhetorical questions in persuasive essays are a great idea.

A question which is posed without the expectation of an answer is called a “rhetorical question.” Obviously, readers can’t answer the question to you, but they might answer the question to themselves. That’s the purpose of a rhetorical question. The root of this meaning is from the word “rhetoric” which is the art of making arguments. Rhetoric used to be one of the main areas of study before the modern school was invented. If you were in school in England in 1850, it would have been an important subject. In those days it was believed that the ability to discuss ideas was the most important thing for students to learn since education wasn’t valued for its practical aspects. It was for gentlemen who didn’t sully themselves with practical matters left to the lower classes. But I digress.

Dropping a rhetorical question into a persuasive argument is often a powerful form of persuasion. You present several facts and build up to a conclusion, drawing the conclusion out of the reader. For example, if you were trying to persuade the reader to support universal health care, you might ask “What kind of a country doesn’t ensure its citizens have access to health care?” For a reader to disagree with you, they would have to do some mental gymnastics in order to identify the underlying assumptions of the question–that universal health care is the only way to ensure all citizens have access to health care, or that if you disagree with the premise, you support an inferior version of the country.

Click here for more on persuasive essays

Rhetorical questions in persuasive essays as an introduction

Rhetorical questions can be one of the great ways to write an essay introduction. In my Essay Writing blog, I have a very popular article on 5 Great Essay Introduction Ideas. For example, in a persuasive essay on gun control, you might start by asking “Are homes with guns safer than those without guns?” In a persuasive essay on abortion, you could ask “What would you do if you were poor, single, and suddenly found yourself pregnant?”

Beginning a persuasive essay with a rhetorical question allows you to provide the answer. You can answer the question with a fact and citation. This gives your argument some weight. Later, you will need to provide a counter argument. Even that part can be improved with the use of a rhetorical question. “Why would someone believe XXX?” Then you provide some information and show that it’s not as reliable or valid as the argument you are putting forward.

You wouldn’t want to fill up your persuasive essay with rhetorical questions. It is one technique, to be used sparingly. But it can be very effective, and who wouldn’t want that?

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About Peter J. Francis

Peter J. Francis is owner and operator of HyperGraphix Publishing Services (HGPublishing.com). He has over 30 years of professional writing and editing experience. He holds a BA (Honors) degree in English (1987), a B. Ed. degree from SFU (2005) and a certificate in Special Education from SFU (2011). He teaches high school and offers editing services as time is available.

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