Answering Questions With Questions


One of the first things students are taught when they are learning writing skills is not to answer questions with further questions. In conversations, however, it does happen.

Why? Why not?

The reasons that people answer questions with questions may be:

  • they don’t want to answer the question or they want to be vague;
  • they are not clear about the meaning of the first question; or
  • they may want to argue against the first speaker.

Is it good to be vague? What do you think?

If you have a question you don’t want to answer in detail you might use a question.

How long will the electricity be off?

How long’s a piece of string?

When are you going to give me your homework?

How long do you think it’ll take?

Do you need to clarify? Do you understand everything?

If you don’t have all the information you need so that you can give a decent answer you may need to answer with a question.

When should we have the meeting?

When do Rick and Marek get back from Prague?

Why must people argue? Isn’t it just part of communicating?

Sometimes people ask questions they don’t need an answer to, often when arguing.

Why are you always angry?

Why are you so bloody useless?

I hope this is useful. If you have any questions, leave a comment. I might answer with a question but I probably won’t.