Especially (but not only) with technical problems, people often ask questions in a way that assumes a certain solution.

For example:

Where can I get a cheap taxi to the airport?

But the person really just wants to get to the airport cheaply, and the best answer might be "Take the train." However, the question already assumes that a taxi is the right solution.


What is the best glue to assemble a wooden garden shed?

Which assumes that using glue is appropriate, when nails or screws might be better.

This behaviour is also described in "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way" by Eric Steven Raymond: Describe the goal, not the step.

Is there an expression for this kind of questions? It is similar to "begging the question", but not quite the same.

4 Answers 4


A leading question is one that suggests an answer, usually one that the asker assumes or desires.

While it usually is used to mean the question leads into an answer that the asker desire for legal reasons, it certainly works to mean what you are saying - a question that presumes an answer will lead from what they have asked.

Note that the first example you gave wasn't truly a 'leading question', since the asker is setting a specific set of parameters: How to get a cheap taxi to the airport. They have a set goal in mind, but those goals are clear and part of the answer that should be provided. Whereas 'putting a garden shed together with glue' is an assumption by the asker, and thus is a leading question.


Those types of questions are asked with "presupposition"

From MW-Online:

Noun 1. presupposition - the act of presupposing; a supposition made prior to having knowledge (as for the purpose of argument)

So in your example, the question about how to find the cheapest taxi to the airport includes the presupposition that a taxi is the cheapest form of transportation to the airport.


A 'loaded question' is one which is asked in order to obtain an advantage from the answer. E.g. If I ask 'Where can I get a cheap taxi to the airport', I may cunningly be hoping the person I'm asking will offer to take me there in their car. That is just one kind of 'loaded question'. There are many others.


Another term for this is X-Y Problem.

The XY problem is asking about your attempted solution rather than your actual problem.

That is, you are trying to solve problem X, and you think solution Y would work, but instead of asking about X when you run into trouble, you ask about Y.

(from https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/66377/what-is-the-xy-problem ).

The term is mainly used in software development, where the goal of some activity is often mixed up with technical problems encountered while working towards that goal.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.