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What is Hypophora in Literature?
Hypophora is a figure of speech in which the speaker asks a question and then answers it himself immediately. This is done to make the listener think about something, usually to create an interesting twist to the story. . The word itself is a compound of the Greek words hypo meaning low and phora meaning word, thus implying that the speaker is talking about something very low down.
It is also used to express contempt and ridicule, as well as to indicate disbelief. But the most common use of this figure is when someone asks a question and immediately answers it himself. For example: “Do you know what time it is?” “No, I don’t.” Here the speaker is trying to show that he doesn’t know, but at the same time he is saying that it is none of his business.
Simple Examples of hypophora in Literature
Some other examples of Hypophora are:
- “Are you hungry?” “No, I’m not.” “I am thirsty.”
- “What did you do after school?” “I was just sitting in the garden reading a book when you came home.”
- “Where do you live?” “I live in the sky.” “How did you get there?” “I flew.”
- . “Do you want to go to bed?” “No, I’m too sleepy.”
- “What’s the matter?” “I have a headache.” “What’s wrong with your head?” “I don’t know.”
- “What are you doing?” “Nothing.” “What do you mean nothing?”.
- “How many people live here?” “Two.” “I thought you said there were two.” This is a type of indirect question and the answer is often a surprise. The speaker may be asking a question in order to get information from the listener or for some other purpose, but the listener thinks he is being asked the question and gives an answer to himself.
There are other types of indirect questions which can also be used as hypophora. Examples: “Do you think I’m handsome?” “Well, if you ask me, yes. But I’m not the one who’s going to answer.”
Difference Between Hypophora and Rhetorical Question
Hypophora is different from rhetorical questions as hypophora asks a question and answers it at the same time. On the other hand, rhetorical question is a question asked for rhetorical effect and answer is not given.