I have been wondering if this particular speaking device had a specific name. My wife uses a speaking technique where, instead of just making a statement, she presents it in the form of a question, and then immediately answers her own question. For example, instead of saying

I think you are wrong.

she would say,

Do I think you are wrong? Yes.

Or, similarly, instead of

I hate when he does that.

she would say

Do I hate when he does that? Yes.

Does this particular technique have a name? I have been trying to Google this, but have been stumped as to exactly what to search for.

  • 11
    I saw the title, and thought "belongs on meta" :)
    – Benjol
    Feb 21, 2011 at 9:38
  • 5
    Do I think doing so is irritating and unpolite? Totally!
    – o0'.
    Feb 22, 2011 at 13:13

2 Answers 2


This figure of speech is called hypophora. If you visit the Wikipedia entry for figures of speech or this web page about rhetoric, you can find more information about this and other devices.

  • Ohhh - lead me to an interesting site: virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm
    – mplungjan
    Feb 21, 2011 at 8:00
  • so, in doing some more research on this (now that I know what it's called) it looks like it's more often used in speeches, where the question is posed at the beginning of a section, and attempts to keep the audiences attention until the question is answered, later in the section. It seems like she might not be getting all the use out of the technique, since she immediately answers the question.
    – user13757
    Feb 21, 2011 at 8:04
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    @W_P Your comment sounds so funny. In my case I admit my efforts have failed to convince someone (including my wife) to stop doing something that annoys me. And the best solution has come when I decided to stop feeling annoyed. Sometimes after I don't care about it, they just stop doing it! Hahaha
    – Inti Soto
    Feb 21, 2011 at 8:21

Apparently a number of terms apply to this tactic. Richard A. Lanham, A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms (1968) offers these:

anthypophora: asking questions and answering them.

dialogismus: speaking in another man's person.

hypophora: asking questions and answering them.

ratiocinatio: a question addressed by the speaker to himself.

sermocinatio: the speaker answers the remarks or questions of a pretended interlocutor.

The past master of sermocinatio was Donald Rumsfeld, who, as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006, habitually rephrased or replaced reporters' questions at press conferences with the questions he preferred to answer.