Avoid rhetorical questions

A rhetorical question is a question asked not as a genuine inquiry but rather to suggest something or to make a point.

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An example of such a question is:

Who could disagree with the statement that our political system is effective?

What the questions suggests is that “No intelligent person can dispute that our political system is effective.”

There are a few problems here.

The main problem with this type of question is that almost always there is someone who will answer in a way you don’t anticipate. Another issue is that often such questions are used in place of careful argument, and they are a poor substitution.

Finally, they take up more space than it would take to simply state the point, and they lack the clarity and conviction of a good declarative statement.

Other interesting articles

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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Bryson, S. (2023, July 23). Avoid rhetorical questions. Scribbr. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-writing/avoid-rhetorical-questions/

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Shane Bryson

Shane finished his master's degree in English literature in 2013 and has been working as a writing tutor and editor since 2009. He began proofreading and editing essays with Scribbr in early summer, 2014.