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Learn Rhetorical Questions in English - What are Rhetorical Questions

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

I will teach you some rhetorical questions that will help you learn rhetorical question in English grammar. I will show you some rhetorical question examples and explain: what are rhetorical questions?

Can fish swim? Do dogs bark? Does a bear poop in the woods? These are all examples of rhetorical questions in English.

In this lesson, you will learn English about rhetorical questions in English. Rhetorical questions are questions that are asked more to make a point than to get information from the answer. They are questions that do not expect an answer, or the answer is obvious from the question. You can use rhetorical questions in English to make a point or draw attention to something. Very often, a rhetorical question draws attention to a negative situation. I will talk about a list of rhetorical questions and show you some rhetorical question examples.

Here are some examples of rhetorical questions.

Do you know what time it is? This rhetorical question would be used to show that someone is late. Do you know what time it is? This question does not require an answer. I am simply pointing out that someone is late.

Danny: Where is Don? It’s already 9:10. He’s ten minutes late.

Don: Phew, I made it.

Danny: Do you know what time it is? Let’s get started!

Have you lost your tongue? This means; why don’t you say anything.

Danny: I seems like I have been doing all the talking. Have you lost your tongue? Right, this question doesn’t imply that I think the person has lost their tongue but is asking why the other person isn’t talking.

What do you think you’re doing? This means that you can’t justify what you are doing. You can use this one when you see someone doing something they shouldn’t be doing.

Here’s an example: Don’s mom saw him eating snacks and she yelled: “What do you think you’re doing? You shouldn’t eat so much sugar!”

Some rhetorical questions start with “why should, or how should.”

Why should…? Questions can be used to reject suggestions, requests, and instructions. Why should…? Can be used to show that you don’t want to do something. Here’s an example:

A: Amy can you help me clean the house tomorrow?

B: Why should I help you?

Right, here I am saying I don’t want to help clean the house.

A: Don is very angry today.

Danny: Why should I care?

So, here I’m saying that I don’t care that Don is angry.

“How should I know?” or “How would I know?” is an aggressive reply to a question. For example,

A: What time does the movie start?

B: How should I know?

So here, “how should I know?” is an aggressive way to say, “I don’t know!”

There are also negative yes / no rhetorical questions.

Negative rhetorical questions are used to suggest that a situation is actually positive. Here are some examples:

Don: Can I borrow another hundred dollars?

Danny: Haven’t I done enough for you?

So here, “haven’t I done enough for you?” means I think I have done enough for him. I shouldn’t need to loan him more money.

Here’s another example: “Didn’t I help you study for your last exam?” Here I am using a negative question to point to something positive, “I helped you study for you last exam.

For the rest of the lesson, I will show you some rhetorical question examples:

Rhetorical questions that have no answers:

What is the meaning of life?

What’s the matter with kids today?

How many times do I have to tell you to clean the house?

With this one we can use “How many times do I have to tell you to…? With many different tasks.

How many do I have to tell you to do the dishes?

How many times do I have to tell you to clean your room?

Who cares?

How should I know?

Now some examples of rhetorical questions with obvious answers. These are often used to make a point.

Is rain wet?

There’s no point, is there?

Is there anyone smarter than me?

Do cats meow?

Is this supposed to be some kind is joke?

So now you can recognize rhetorical questions in English and how to use rhetorical questions in English. Want to learn more English? Click one of the videos on the screen. I’ll see you in the next video.

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