What is a rhetorical question? (reh-tor-ick-al)
A rhetorical question is when a question gets asked, but no answer is provided afterwards. This technique is REALLY powerful if you are trying to persuade someone of something.
For example, imagine this scenario happening in a city:
CHARITY WORKER: Excuse me, sir? Could you spare five dollars to feed a child?
MAN: No, sorry, I’m running late for work.
CHARITY WORKER: Do you really think that your work is more important than a starving child?
(MAN gives CHARITY WORKER five dollars and then walks off, smiling).
The RHETORICAL QUESTION forced the man to think about the situation for a minute, and without needing to answer, he was convinced that giving money to charity was the right idea, because he does care about children.
Why do we use rhetorical questions?
Rhetorical questions are great for speeches and writing where you want your reader or listener to really think about something carefully. By asking a question, and then not answering it, you’re encouraging the person you’ve asked to fill in the answer for themselves.