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51 Examples of a Loaded Question

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A loaded question is a question that contains an accusation or unjustified assumption. Answering the question directly makes it appear that the target has accepted the accusation or assumption. As such, a loaded question is essentially a trap. The safe response to a loaded question is to challenge its assumptions. Asking loaded questions can be perceived as aggressive, arrogant or unethical. The following are illustrative examples of loaded questions.
Who do you blame when your projects fail?
Is it difficult to hide your incompetence?
Are you planning to resign before you're fired?
Has your manager noticed that your project is failing?
Do you actually believe your own lies?
Which color do you want? [salesperson implies that you have already decided to buy]
When did you become an alcoholic?
Do you feel guilty for your privilege?
Why do you feel that our firm is the best employer in America?
Why are our hamburgers the best?
Did you vote for that terrible authoritarian ____ ?
Do you still drive that ugly car?
Which of your bad habits is the worst?
How often do you say things just to hurt people's feelings?
When did you decide to sabotage our project?
Do you regret all your bad decisions?
Have you stopped cheating on your taxes?
Why aren't you pregnant?
Why aren't you married yet?
Why haven't you been promoted yet? [implies you're lagging in your career]
Why aren't accountants creative?
How did you get away with it?
Why did you steal it?
Does your emotional instability stem from your childhood?
Will you vote for that job-destroying bill?
Why do you let others think for you?
When do you think you'll be fired?
When did you shoot him?
When did you give up on your health?
At what time did you see Mr. Smith shoot Mr. Wilson?
Is your team okay with your low performance?
Are you always late for meetings because of a personal issue?
How many times did you cheat on your exams?
Do people get annoyed when your disrespectful to them?
Why are you angry?
What's wrong?
How do you deal with your experience of marginalization?
Do you ever take things seriously?
How often do you act out for attention?
Do you enjoy your role in an oppressive power structure?
When is the last time you went to jail?
Where did you go to University? [implies everyone goes to University]
What were you wearing when you robbed the bank?
Where were you born?
What is your home country?
When did you come to [country]?
How can you just blindly follow the crowd?
Why are you unhappy with our service? [when trying to cancel]
When did you become so unhappy?
How do you sleep at night? [assumes a guilty conscience]
Why did you do it?

Push Polling

Push polling is an attempt to influence under the guise of conducting a survey or poll. For example, phoning voters to ask "Are you concerned that America will lose 15 million jobs if ___ is elected?"

Leading Question

A leading question is an attempt to influence an answer. A loaded question is a strong form of a leading question. There are also more subtle forms such as "We know Mr. Smith arrived at 8 pm, what time did you see him?"

Subtle Loaded Questions

Loaded questions are common and can be quite subtle. For example, "what's the meaning of life?" implies that life has meaning which could be viewed as an unfair assumption in a philosophical debate. This is really a technicality as it's easy to answer this question "it has no meaning" if that's what you happen to believe.

Fair Assumptions

Assumptions are an important device that allow for high level thinking and communication. It is a bad idea to be too sensitive about assumptions that are technically not fully proven and justified. It is also common for fully incorrect assumptions to be a mistake and not an attempt to corner someone with a loaded question.


Loaded questions must include an invalid assumption. It is common for people to assume that any negative question is loaded. This is not the case. For example, "Are you corrupt?" isn't a loaded question. This could be structured as a loaded question by including corruption as an assumption and asking something else such as "When did you become so corrupt?"
Overview: Loaded Question
A question that contains unjustified assumptions or accusations.
Avoid directly answering a loaded question. Challenge the question itself by pointing out invalid assumptions.
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