Rhetorical Questions?

Do rhetorical questions have a place in essay writing? The short and long answer is sometimes. However, before using a rhetorical question ask yourself why you are using it. Indeed, consider what the rhetorical question does in the mind of the reader. When you ask a rhetorical question, you are at the same time answering the question, by prompting an obvious response – this is why it is rhetorical. But if you already know the answer and ostensibly your reader does too, then maybe you are simply slowing down the reading process. Moreover, if the answer is not obvious, do you want your reader to begin thinking about a response? Again, the answer is implied by the rhetoric and you do not want your reader to think. So always ask yourself, rhetorically or not, do I need to state this claim as a question, or should I just get on with it and tell the reader what to think directly (which is what you were going to do anyway)? If you have questions, rhetorical or not, on style in writing or irony in writing, contact me at theessaywhisperer.com.

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