Beware the Rhetorical Question…

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Have you ever heard of a lazy rhetorical question? I think perhaps we all have.

The primary purpose of rhetorical questioning is to make a certain point, and then to allow the reader to ponder the thought or reasoning rather than providing an answer.

But the chances are that reader will submit an answer — and it may be considerably different to the one you were hoping to elicit.

People often ask empty rhetorical questions. They’re commonly used to hide the fact that a point hasn’t been made. This is, to me, lazy prose and almost forces the audience to do all the hard work.

Do we need more rhetoric? If you really must use rhetorical questions in your advertising and marketing, it’s useful to attempt to answer them somewhere in your copy.

If you can’t, then it makes sense to express the point you’re trying to make in the indicative.

Now, how does that sound to you? 😉

Clear enough, hopefully. If not, let me know…

(C) 2011 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved

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