Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 34 – Close Listening – Listening for Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical questions are common in academic discussions and debates. They sound like normal questions, sometimes with stronger intonation, but they are not real questions, and the speaker does not expect an answer. Rhetorical questions are used to state a point the speaker believes is obvious, and to express attitudes such as surprise, doubt, and agreement.

Normal question: Does anyone care? (maybe some people care; I want to know the answer to this.)

Rhetorical question: Who cares? (no one cares)

1. Professor: Who can tell me what these inventions are?

2. Ling: Wow, who knows?

3. Professor: What golfer hasn’t had that happen?

4. Brian: So who is Arthur Pedrick?

5. Professor: Sorry, your name is….?

6. Marco: Why patent them? I mean, what’s the point?

Skillful 3

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