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  1. Ali Ahmadi's Avatar
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    #1

    Post How to show surprising in a question.

    When someone asks you a stupid question, for example "Is sky Blue?";

    How can you say "Of course and it is so stupid."?

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    #2

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    There's a lot to discuss here. First I'll correct your text.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ali Ahmadi View Post
    When someone asks you a stupid question, for example "Is the sky blue?", can you say "Of course and it's a stupid question"?
    However, it's not a stupid question at all. The sky is not always blue. I'm looking at a grey sky right now. During the night it's black. Maybe the person who asked the question cannot see the sky and wants to know what colour it is at that moment.

    Finally, it's impolite and potentially hurtful to tell someone he has asked a stupid question, even if you believe it to be stupid.

  2. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    As a rule, it is impolite to call out someone for asking what we perceive to be a "stupid" question. Anyone with an interest in learning knows that there is no such thing as a stupid question.

    However, there are times when a close friend or relative - someone who wouldn't be offended if you poked fun at them - asks a question that you find stupid or unnecessary. In that type of situation, it is still impolite to outright say "What a stupid question!" But it is socially acceptable to reply to the question with a joke of your own that subtly lets the person know that you thought his inquiry was ridiculous or unnecessary.

    Some examples:


    Me (sitting in the living room, where there is no clock, calling out to my husband who is in the kitchen where there is a large clock on the wall): "What time is it in there?"
    Husband: "Same time as it is in there."
    (Why was my question deemed "stupid" by my husband? It was simply because of the way I'd phrased my query. I should have simply asked "What time is it?" but for some reason I asked "What time is it in there?", which was my shorthand way of telling him "Please glance up at the clock and tell me what time it is.")


    Co-Worker (asking for driving directions to a restaurant): "How do I get to Hank's Hamburger Hamlet?"
    Me: "From here?"
    Co-Worker: (rolling his eyes impatiently) "No, from Timbuktu!"
    (I didn't immediately understand that Co-Worker was leaving directly from the office to go to the Hamburger Hamlet, which is why I wanted clarification. Co-Worker, without knowing what was going through my mind, thought my question was redundant and irrelevant.)


    Again, such sarcastic rejoinders to "stupid" questions should only used among people who know you well - people with whom you regularly share jokes and barbs.

  3. Ali Ahmadi's Avatar
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    #4

    Post Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    I know that it is impolite and I know that I can use it only when talking with close friends,

    But, I want to learn an idiom to show that I'm surprised about this question.

    For example I'm eating lunch then my friend asks me :"Are you eating?" while he is looking at me and it's completely clear that I'm eating(I mean there is no answer except 1 and this question is unnecessary and stupid )

    Now I want to learn an idiom to say why do you ask this stupid and unnecessary question.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    I can't think of an idiom for it. If someone asked me "Are you eating?" while I was clearly eating, I would probably say "No, I'm climbing Mount Everest" or something equally sarcastic.

    In the UK, we have a rather bizarre question which we sometimes use in reply to someone who has asked a question to which the answer is quite clearly "Yes". The question we reply with is "Does Judith Chalmers have a passport?!" This will mean nothing to anyone who isn't British and of a certain age. Judith Chalmers used to present a lot of TV travel programmes in the 1970s and 1980s. She travelled all over the world in order to present the shows (as an aside, she had a very rather alarming suntan). In order to travel all over the world, it is rather obvious that she must have had a passport. Clear as mud?

    There are a couple of alternatives which are heard more often:

    1) Is the Pope Catholic? (Probably best to know what religion the person you're speaking to is.)
    2) Does a bear sh*t in the woods? (Mildly offensive)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    And then there is the more offensive "does the Pope sh*t in the woods.

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    #7

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.


  6. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    There is really no all-purpose retort to a stupid question, other than perhaps "Well, DUH!!"

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    #9

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Ali Ahmadi:



    I know that you wish to be a very well-mannered person. So sometimes when someone says something that is "stupid" or unkind or insulting, it is often the best policy to say nothing or at least as little as possible.

    In the case of your friend asking, "Is the sky blue?" you could simply smile and reply "I believe that it is." In the long run, your friends will respect you for your mature and kind attitude. If you say something sarcastic, they may laugh, but they will probably remember. In some cultures, I hear, people are very offended when their intelligence is questioned.

    I also suggest that you NOT use the S-word. Here in the United States, it is still considered very offensive by many people. For example, it is forbidden on the radio and (non-cable) television.



    James

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    #10

    Re: How to show surprising in a question.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    A young woman's job is to visit all the homes in the neighborhood in order to learn how many familes own a dog.

    She knocks on Mr. Smith's door.

    When he opens the door, his dog barks wildly.

    She ignores the barking and asks, "Do you have a dog?"

    Mr. Smith looks at her and replies: Are you kidding?!!?

    *****

    Credit for the idea in this story goes to the American comic strip entitled "Marmaduke" by Brad and Paul Anderson, Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2015.

    One of the greatest ESL teachers in the history of the world (really!) used to tell her students to read the comic strips every day. Within a few months, they would see a marked improvement in their vocabulary. (Learners can find many American comic strips online.)

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