I am currently in the process of writing a paper in computer science and I wanted to know if I solved a question posed by those guys or asked by them.

When should I use "posed a question" and when should I use "asked a question"?

In specific, my sentence is currently the following:

[...], thereby answering a question posed by Scientist et al. in the negative.

  • 6
    Ps., could those who downvote answers (e.g. the answers from Sanctor and msam) please comment on why they downvote?
    – Pål GD
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


asking a question indicates that a reply is expected, possibly from a specific entity or person. Posing or raising a question mean that the question was "created", possibly implicitly, but is not necessarily directed to anyone in particular and does not necessarily require a reply. Since this is a research paper you should probably use raised or posed (unless Scientist et al. actually asked the question to someone, e.g. in a survey)

  • Yes, 'ask' focuses on the asking process more than 'pose' does; 'pose' can sound more starchy, but at the same time less personal - which might be the deciding factor. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:06

Pose has a meaning that suggests the question was not pointed at a predetermined group of people. A scientific question surfaced by a paper is for anybody to answer.

When a question is asked, however, it usually has an intended receiving end.

  • 4
    I really do not see why this was downvoted. I hadn't even consciously noticed the distinction described here, but thinking about it now, it is quite obviously true. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 11:55

To pose a question is to raise a question, to bring attention to a problem. It does not have to be directed to a specific person and cannot always be answered immediately. To ask a question is to inquire about something, often expecting a prompt answer from the person you just asked.

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