Why Preface Questions With “A Question”?

Why do people say “A question…”, or “Can I ask you a question?” before asking the question? Why? Why?! WHY?!

I don’t get it.

8 Replies to “Why Preface Questions With “A Question”?”

  1. actually, I use “Can I ask you a question” as a social/conversational lubricant for several reasons (1) if you (the respondant) actually don’t have time or want to answer a question right then it gives you an immediate out that is inherently understandable (2) it is polite to ask permission for things instead of “demanding” an un-promised answer from a potentially unwilling respondant (3) it allows people a second to process whatever else they may have been thinking about before you interrupted them and then they may be able to actually focus on your question.

  2. Actually, I think I recall the word “actually” being another of Jody’s pet peeves. That along with “to tell the truth” introducing honesty into your conversation could make one assume you weren’t forthcoming in the first place. Actually, I agree with Rockfish and Phillip. But I DO give a shit. It’s fun to tease Jody about it. :-) (Jody hates smileys too!)

    Oh, Pender: I AM calm, dammit!!!! Jeeeez!

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