How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
These are two types of questions you can use that are very different in character and usage: open and closed questions.
There are two definitions that are used to describe closed questions. A common definition is:
A closed question can be answered with either a single word or a short phrase.
Thus 'How old are you?' and 'Where do you live?' are closed questions. A more limiting definition is:
A closed question can be answered with either 'yes' or 'no'.
Thus 'Are you happy?' and 'Is that a knife I see before me?' are closed questions, whilst 'How are you?' and even 'How old are you?' are not, by this definition, closed. This limited definition is also sometimes called a 'yes or no' question, for obvious reasons.
Closed questions have the following characteristics:
This makes closed questions useful in the following situations:
Note how you can turn any opinion into a closed question that forces a yes or no by adding tag questions, such as "isn't it?", "don't you?" or "can't they?", to any statement.
The first word of a question sets up the dynamic of the closed question, signaling the easy answer ahead. Note how these are words like: do, would, are, will, if.