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Stylistic Devices – Rhetorical Question

question without a direct answer

The author / speaker raises a question, but doesn't answer it directly as he/she sees the answer (usually Yes or No) as obvious.

Rhetorical questions are used to provoke, emphasise or argue.


  • When public money brings windfalls to a few, why should the state not take a share? (6)
  • But was the best way to win them over to threaten to ignore them altogether? Like so many things this week, the adminitstration's diplomacy needs a smoother touch. (6) (Note that the sentence following the question is not an answer to it.)

see also: → Hypophora