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What is a rhetorical question?



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.
  A rhetorical question is a kind of

Quirk 1972 825


Larson 1984 235–236


Corbett 1971 488–489


Beekman and Callow 1974 229


Mish 1991 1011

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