Is there a name for a question that is worded in such a way that it's obvious what the questioner wants to hear?

I've come across this type of question many times, and something about it feels wrong.


  • Do you agree that [some country] should cherish its way of life?

  • Do you agree that [some group] should be free from oppression?

  • Do you agree that violence against [some group] should be ended?

In all of these examples, one would look rather bad to say no. But, these type of questions often have strings attached, so if you say yes, then the asker says "Ah! So you must support [some policy you may or may not agree with]."

My first instinct was that it's a loaded question, but after looking up that definition, I'm not so sure. Can anyone shed light on this?

  • 2
    rhetorical question?
    – user20153
    Oct 20, 2016 at 4:10
  • 1
    a loaded question is e.g. "have you stopped beating your wife?"
    – user20153
    Oct 20, 2016 at 4:15
  • 2
    a leading question
    – MmmHmm
    Oct 20, 2016 at 6:39
  • @Mr. Kennedy That sounds like the right one, thanks
    – Vermillion
    Oct 20, 2016 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


As a complement to Mr. Kennedy's answer (leading question), I would point out that simply calling this a "question" might contain a second, implicit, fallacy; unless one is aware of the real reason why the question is being asked.

The usual assumption, is that one asks a question in order to acquire new information. There is a theory of information (Shannon) that takes into account the probability of each distinct answer. Here you have one answer, with a probability of 1. So as a heuristic tool, this question does not foot the bill.

Traditionally, asking a question to which one already knows the answer is called rhetorical question.

So the question about this question might be: "why are you asking me a question to which you already know the answer?".

There might be a number of reasons, all of which come under the heading of "I want you to state what I already know". Offhand, I can think of two:

  1. The "handshake" ("are you there?"): it ensures (for telecom devices) that the other device is still reachable through the line, and in a conversation or speech, that your audience is still paying attention. So the real question, is: "Do I still have a communication?". In the extreme, whatever one asks is irrelevant; a sentence ("d'you see what I mean?"), a simple word ("yeah?") or even a question mark ("?") would suffice.

  2. The maieutic question: the purpose of the question is to make the audience think about something (relatively obvious), so they indirectly come to a realization ("aha!").

Note that both are daily used by teachers or lecturers.

Finally, I suppose that your concern about the leading question, is that it could be used with a "pitch" (a salesman) or a "curve" (a political or court opponent), in which case the question might also be loaded! In that case, the purpose might not be to increase your knowledge, but to muddy it.

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