General Question

gorillapaws's avatar

Is there a term for a rhetorical question designed initiate a conversation/small talk?

Asked by gorillapaws (24716points) November 1st, 2019

Here are some examples of the kind of leading questions with an obvious answer due to the situation, with the intent to begin a brief, conversation on the subject?

“Are you enjoying this beautiful day?”
“Are you looking forward to your vacation tomorrow?”
“How cute is Sarah’s puppy?”

Obviously these kinds of questions fall under the broader category of small-talk. I was wondering if there was a word or term that expresses this specific construction where the conversation is initiated via a question with an obvious answer based on the context/situation. It’s a bit different from a rhetorical question that usually isn’t meant to be answered and is making a point in a debate/argument.

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10 Answers

rebbel's avatar

“Open door” questions?

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’d just call it a conversation starter or time filler,

gorillapaws's avatar

@JeSuisRickSpringfield I usually associate icebreakers with engaging with someone for the first time. In this case it could be someone you speak with every day. Also icebreakers are’t always questions.

kritiper's avatar

Mindless banter.

LostInParadise's avatar

They are a type of conversation starter

They are not really rhetorical questions. When someone gives a rhetorical question, the asker does not expect an answer. If you ask your dog, “Who’s a good boy?”, you would not expect an answer even if the dog understood what you were asking.

The examples you give differ from usual conversation starters in that they allow for an anticipated short answer, if the person does not want to start a conversation.
Are you enjoying this beautiful day?
Yes I am.

You can try to force a conversation by then asking, “How are you enjoying this beautiful day?, which you could have asked in the first place.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

A pick up line?

si3tech's avatar

Icebreaker question?

Inspired_2write's avatar

An opening line that comedians start with to check there audience out.
A lead to other questions.

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