Verbal sparring 101: Answer the rhetorical question

Whenever you find yourself in an argument, be on the alert for the rhetorical question. People love to use these questions as argumentative counterpoints, and they can quickly derail the unsuspecting opponent. But they are easily defended against by simply answering the question. image

For example:

My opponent: “How dare you question my parenting decisions?”

Me: “How dare I? I didn’t really think of stating my opinion as daring. I just think your parenting decisions suck, and I said so. Daring? Hardly.”

Another good example:

My opponent: “Who do you think you are?”

Me: "I’m Matthew Dicks. Teacher. Author. Father. Master of reason. But I thought you knew that already. What a ridiculous question to ask in the middle of a debate."

This strategy won’t win you any arguments, but it’s incredibly amusing, and it de-fangs the rhetorical questions.