E010 Questions Questions Questions

Welcome to English with Kimberley.

In this episode, I want to talk to you about how English speakers ask people questions but don’t expect any answers. For example, if I ask you whether you are, ‘all right’ when we meet – do I really want you to tell me how you’re feeling?

Let’s start – as always – with a little quiz.

A question that no one is expected to answer is called…

a) a direct question?

b) an open question?

c) a closed question?

or d) a rhetorical question?

Let’s just repeat that.

A question that no one is expected to answer is called…

a) a direct question?

b) an open question?

c) a closed question?

or d) a rhetorical question?

Well, did you get d) – ‘rhetorical question’?

Because a direct question is just like a normal question, for example, ‘where are you going?’ An open question often requires a long answer as with, ‘Why do you like chocolate?’ While, a closed question often has a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

A rhetorical question, on the other hand, is a question that doesn’t require an answer and is often used in conversations and stories.

For example:

‘Are you really going to wear that dress?’ (as in a conversation); and,

‘Someone was telling lies, I wonder who?’ (as in a detective story).

Let’s finish with a little fun quiz.

In Australia when you greet people you often hear the expression, ‘How are you?’ (or, in relaxed speech, ‘howrya?’) You don’t usually answer the question because it’s a rhetorical question.

So, what is a rhetorical question?

Is it a question that..

a) needs to be answered?

b) no one knows the answer?

c) you do not need to answer?

or d) can just be ignored?

Shall I give you the question again?

What is a rhetorical question?

Is it a question that..

a) needs to be answered?

b) no one knows the answer?

c) you do not need to answer?

or d) can just be ignored?

Well it’s c) – ‘a question that you do not need to answer’

Did you notice that when I asked, ‘Shall I give you the question again?’ just few seconds ago that it was a rhetorical question? – because I wasn’t expecting an answer, was I?

If you want to find more information on rhetorical questions, just type ‘rhetorical questions’ in your search engine and see what comes up.

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You can also find a script of this podcast at www.goaustralia.biz

I hope you have enjoyed this podcast and you’ll join me again.