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I am looking for a word that describe the kind of behavior someone exhibits when trying to guide another person to an answer without giving the answer away directly, as in the following, a conversation between a speaker and some other person as the speaker inquires why water droplets form on a glass above a candle flame.

"Why are there water droplets forming on the glass?" I asked.
"What are the products of combustion?" She asked ____.
"Water and carbon dioxide? I see, the droplets are from the water produced by the candle flame."

An adverb is needed for the blank.

  • "Educate" literally means "to lead out". – Hot Licks Jun 4 '16 at 20:26
  • "What are the products of combustion?" She enjoined. – Phil Sweet Jun 5 '16 at 2:13
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My simplest form ("Socratic" would be hopelessly effete in the original example) would center on a "leading question", so I'd probably just say "suggestively" in your example.

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  • ACH! I now think that @DavidC's "helpfully" actually more-closely suits the example you provided! As a teacher, I should've smelled something slightly off about "suggestively", as it seems to imply an emphasis on the teacher's wellbeing over the student's! – david macCary richter Jun 4 '16 at 19:40
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    I don't think effete means what you think it does. – deadrat Jun 4 '16 at 22:59
  • ef·fete əˈfēt/ adjective (of a person): affected, as in, if a writer used that word there, it would seem thus. – david macCary richter Jun 4 '16 at 23:05
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    “suggestively” often carries flirty implications, I'd second the suggestion of “helpfully” by @DavidC – Morgen Jun 5 '16 at 4:27
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    @davidmacCaryrichter I was going to say. Sounds more like someone is a little too excited about chemical reactions. – Tucker Jun 5 '16 at 7:09
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A "leading question", in common law systems that rely on testimony by witnesses, is a question that suggests the particular answer or contains the information the examiner is looking to have confirmed...
So to answer your question, I would say: "What are the products of combustion?" She led.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leading_question

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Argument by asking questions may best be described as Socratic, for that is what Socrates did - notably with his pupils, such as Plato.

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  • While this is a good answer, the word "Socratic" may be a little dramatic for this context, more importantly, it can't be an adverb. If you have a way of changing the sentence structure so as to make the adjective usable, that would be welcomed as a best answer. – user289661 Jun 4 '16 at 18:54
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    "What are the products of combustion?" came her Socratic response. – WS2 Jun 4 '16 at 22:19
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    @WS2 "Isn't that an adjective, not an adverb?" he asked Socratically. – deadrat Jun 4 '16 at 23:01
  • @deadrat I understood the OP's comment to mean a changed sentence-structure to accommodate the adjective - on the basis that "it can't be an adverb". – WS2 Jun 4 '16 at 23:29
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The (second) question presumes that the water droplets are by-products of a process of combustion--something the addressee may have thus far failed to consider.

If the question were posed by an instructor to a student in an educational setting, some would be inclined to employ an adverb such helpfully.

However, others might object, arguing that the second question essentially provides the answer to the first question. They might argue that the instructor asked leadingly (or in a leading fashion) or suggestively.

As others noted, Socrates' style of questioning bears some relation to the example you give. However, Socrates rarely suggests the desired answer outright. (See the Meno dialogue for example, where he tries to help the slave boy answer a question about the area of squares). He raises question after question in a way that pretty much ensures that the boy will reach the correct answer. It is ironic that Plato view such an example as a demonstration of his theory of "reminiscence": one never learns anything new, one simply recalls what one already knew from a past life.

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Prompted.

Encourage (a speaker) to say something/to say (something that encourages a person to talk)

So, in your example:

"Why are there water droplets forming on the glass?" I asked.

"What are the products of combustion?" She prompted.

"Water and carbon dioxide? I see, the droplets are from the water produced by the candle flame."

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rhetorical rhe·tor·i·cal \ri-ˈtȯr-i-kəl, -ˈtär-\

of a question : asked in order to make a statement rather than to get an answer –MW

"What are the products of combustion?" She asked rhetorically.

"Oh, right... Duh. And it's condensing on the glass. I get it now."

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