Re: Does a rhetorical question need a '?'

Subject: Re: Does a rhetorical question need a '?'
From: Dave Brown <david -dot- brown -at- tait -dot- co -dot- nz>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2005 09:31:47 +1200


IMHO, it's a matter of style.

Personally, I like to have a question mark, even if it is rhetorical. But I can fully appreciate why others don't.

(I first came across this issue when teaching English. The text book was discussing greetings like "How are you[?]". Their argument was that it's a greeting not a question, and being rhetorical it didn't require a question mark.)

An alternative would be to reword the sentence to remove the 'why' (though it will lose its impact). For example:
"A hacker doesn't need to try to penetrate a firewall when he can steal the entire server"


Johan Hiemstra said the following on 13 Jun 05 9:04 a.m.:

Is a
question mark required in my rhetorical question below.


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