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What is a rhetorical question?

 

Definition
 

A rhetorical question is an illocutionary act that

 
  • has the direct illocutionary force of a question, and
  • is not generally used with the expectation of an answer but with some different, indirect force, such as

    • a command
    • a tentative statement, and
    • an evaluation.
Generic
  A rhetorical question is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Quirk 1972 825

 

Larson 1984 235–236

 

Corbett 1971 488–489

 

Beekman and Callow 1974 229

 

Mish 1991 1011


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