Hypothetical Questions Examples
A hypothetical question is a question that is asked to elicit opinions and personal beliefs. The question is not based on facts, but rather on an imagined scenario.
Hyopthetical questions are often asked based on events that could happen, thus requiring the respondent to express how he or she would handle a specific event or respond to a specific situation that has not occurred, but, hypothetically, could occur. The person who asks a hypothetical question often sets parameters or criteria for the situation before the respondent answers.
1. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
2. In the future, our company goes bankrupt-what do you think are the factors that lead to this?
3. Say that we were going to propose a new product to market to millennials. What is this new product?
4. Say you had to choose between saving your brother or saving 100 other people from drowning. What would you do?
5. How would you handle it if your best friend decided to spread a rumor about you?
6. If you had to give up one of your favorite foods permanently, which food would you give up?
Examples of Hypothetical Questions in Literature
Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" asks and provides a hypothetical answer to the question of what the British can do about starvation and overpopulation in Ireland. His question is what to do about poor children whose parents cannot take care of them. His satire proposes that the British dine on the children.
"I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children . . . There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born: The question therefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided for, which, as I have already said, under the present Situation of Affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed."
In the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks a hypothetical question about Romeo-while he is her enemy in name, wouldn't he still be wonderful, even if he were called something else?
It's only your name that's my enemy. You'd still be yourself even if you stopped being a Montague. What's a Montague anyway? It isn't a hand, a foot, an arm, a face, or any other part of a man. Oh, be some other name! What does a name mean? The thing we call a rose would smell just as sweet if we called it by any other name. Romeo would be just as perfect even if he wasn't called Romeo. Romeo, lose your name. Trade in your name-which really has nothing to do with you-and take all of me in exchange.
Literary Terms Examples