As far as I understand it, reading comprehension relates only to the ability to understand what is read. I'm asking because my Craigslist ads contain enough pertinent information about an item being sold but for some reason potential buyers still ask me questions that are clearly answered in the ad (I've resorted to just copying and pasting the ad to answer their emails). When I talk about this phenomenon to others I have no way to describe this reading deficiency in one word. Thanks for any help.

  • You may be drawing the wrong conclusion. People will often ask questions just to start a conversation, before they feel comfortable enough to haggle about the price. Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 21:42
  • @michael.hor257k, I think the OP is referring to asking redundant questions just to confirm what they already read (and not just as a way of exchanging pleasantries). Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 3:16
  • @alwayslearning I am referring to the same thing. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 3:39

2 Answers 2


Those of us who have been teaching literature and writing courses will point to a scary but growing phenomenon among our students--they have read the material with what is known as "mindless reading," that is, they have read each word but have failed to internalize the material. In your example, however, I agree with a previous comment that your readers may want to confirm what is critical information to them--in other words, they want what amounts to a promise that certain things are true.


Assuming the reader read the written information carefully enough, if they still honestly ask questions already answered therein, they are probably just reconfirming.

This should mostly be due to technical reasons. For one, probably (to them) there is some ambiguity in the written word (it's possible, which is why we have legalese and all those legal professionals surviving on it). And then, they may want something implied in the text to appear explicit in their written communication with you. Plus, their written/email communication with you is preserved unlike a Craiglist ad which can technically become unavailable for reference later.


reconfirm transitive verb

: to confirm again; also : to establish more strongly


reconfirm VERB [WITH OBJECT]
Confirm again.

‘this has been reconfirmed by a recent Higher Labour Court decision’
‘The players continued with the tour only after the agreed procedures had been reconfirmed with diplomats and security advisers.’
‘Once confirmed, they do not need to be reconfirmed later.’
‘Call the airline to reconfirm your flights on the day of departure to prevent any surprises at the airport.’

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