Here’s a reminder: In writing, the majority of questions asked are rhetorical; they are meant to lead to the answer, which the writer later relates.
Often confused with nonsensical questions, rhetorical questions are most often used to illustrate a point and are used as a part of a larger argument in writing.
Many people can and have made the argument that rhetoric as a whole is used more often in informal writing and speech.
In informal settings, such as a blog post (like this one), a speech, an article directed toward children, or a work of fiction, they tend to be used more often.
These are mostly features that I’ve found in student papers that usually lead to trouble. The conclusion (for example) of Descartes’s argument for skepticism is not “Do we really know anything?
They are not cut-and-dried mistakes, but they seem to be associated with confused reasoning and/or passages that are difficult for your poor professor to understand. One reason that rhetorical questions are dangerous is that you (as the writer) know what the answer is to the question. So tell me what you think – don’t ask me a question which (you think) has an obvious answer. As you can see in #1 above, arguments are the important things. ” I don’t know how this started, but it is a growing trend in papers. Events or times are properly described by "is when," for example "Noon is when we eat lunch." Philosophical doctrines should be described by statements.
They also can be patronizing; rhetorical questions are used to capture the attention of students. In the wrong scenario, it makes the reader unconsciously feel childish — think .
It will interrupt a thought, distract or off-put a reader, and, if used abundantly, cause irritation.
A question is meant to pull in attention and make your reader wonder. Doing that too much can backfire horribly: You’ll either make them bored (especially if you’re using a question to pad the word count or recycle information) or you’ll make them annoyed.
The annoyance comes from the fact that you’re asking a reader to think but with no payoff, because you’ll end up explaining the answer anyway.