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Questions

  • Children ask better questions than do adults. 'May I have a cookie?' 'Why is the sky blue?' and 'What does a cow say?' are far more likely to elicit a cheerful response than 'Where's your manuscript?' 'Why haven't you called?' and 'Who's your lawyer?'

  • The only appropriate reply to the question 'Can I be frank?' is 'Yes, if I can be Barbara.

  • Grown people know that they do not always know the why of things, and even if they think they know, they do not know where and how they got the proof. Hence the irritation they show when children keep on demanding to know if a thing is so and how the grown folks got the proof of it. It is so troublesome because it is disturbing to the pigeonhole way of life.

  • The power to question is the basis of all human progress.

  • ... there are no right answers to wrong questions ...

  • The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself.

  • Time does not dispose of a question — it only presents it anew in a different guise.

  • ... she was the kind of woman who liked to ask questions to which she already knew the answers. It gave her a sense of security.

  • Question everyone in authority, and see that you get sensible answers to your questions ... questioning does not mean the end of loving, and loving does not mean the abnegation of intelligence. Vow as much love to your country as you like ... but, I implore you, do not forget to question.

  • The impulse to ask questions is among the more primitive human lusts.

    • Rose Macaulay,
    • "Into Questions and Answers," A Casual Commentary ()
  • ... a true gentleman ... was characterized as the man that asks the fewest questions. This trait of refined society might be adopted into home-like in a far greater degree than it is, and make it far more agreeable.

  • The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.

  • It has always puzzled me, in my business, that people think they have to answer questions, no matter how disagreeable or dangerous, just because they were asked. Of course, we journalists would be out of business if they didn't.

  • Some men and women are inquisitive about everything, they are always asking, if they see any one with anything they ask what is that thing, what is it you are carrying, what are you going to be doing with that thing, why have you that thing, where did you get that thing, how long will you have that thing, there are very many men and women who want to know about anything about everything.

  • How do you like what you have. This is a question that anybody can ask anybody. Ask it.

  • You never answer a question nobody does.

  • The problem with asking questions is, sometimes we get the answers.

  • ... there is probably no such thing as an innocent question, at least not when a parent is doing the asking.

  • Sometimes questions are more important than answers.

  • It is not only by the questions we have answered that progress may be measured, but also by those we are still asking. The passionate controversies of one era are viewed as sterile preoccupations by another, for knowledge alters what we seek as well as what we find.

  • In each age there is a series of pressing questions which must be asked and answered. On the correctness of the questions depends the survival of those who ask; on the quality of the answers depends the quality of the life those survivors will lead.

  • The primary needs can be filled without language. We can eat, sleep, make love, build a house, bear children, without language. But we cannot ask questions. We cannot ask, 'Who am I? Who are you? Why?'

  • An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers.

  • Questions which cannot be freed by words find it easy to slip into the blood stream, changing the body's chemistry, changing a whole life, sometimes.

  • ... once you start asking questions, innocence is gone.

  • Stay with the question. The more it troubles you, the more it has to teach you.

  • ... a question has the most power before we rush to answer it, when it is still making us think, still testing us.

  • Asking questions in therapy would be so helpful if anyone ever answered them accurately. But no one ever does.

  • The indiscreet questioner — and by indiscreet questions I mean questions which it is not conceivably a man's duty either to the community or to any individual to answer — is a marauder, and there is every excuse for treating him as such.

  • There are inquiries which are a sort of moral burglary.

  • He had a way of meeting a simple question with a compound answer — you could take the part you wanted, and leave the rest.

  • If we keep asking questions maybe, just maybe, we will be able to find out why there is poverty ... and why we now are on the verge of world war.

  • Why can't they ever let my wanderings alone?! Can't they understand that I'll talk it all to pieces if I have to tell about it. Then it's gone, and when I try to remember what it really was like, I remember only my own story.

  • Few questions make long friends in the hills.

  • ... hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers.

  • It is a rule of mine never to ask unsolicited questions of people over twenty-one. I am only giving them the option of lying if they choose to. They would tell me the truth without my asking if they wanted me to know. To me that's fair enough.

  • It is the function of a liberal university not to give right answers, but to ask right questions.

  • My pet peeve is hearing a knock on the bathroom door followed by the familiar words, 'What are you doing in there?'

  • Why — why — why! ... Ask it of everything your mind touches, and let your mind touch everything!

  • Bromidic though it may sound, some questions don't have answers, which is a terribly difficult lesson to learn.

  • People ask without wanting to know.

  • It is a curious thing that people only ask if you are enjoying yourself when you aren't.

  • When you know how to ask the right questions you can make anything happen.

  • The impulse to answer a question — any question — is as automatic as the 'fight or flight' response. Everyone, including that rare individual who refuses to answer, pays more attention to a question than to a statement.

  • An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion. It sharpens your eye for the road.

  • ... she had the habit into which your poor conversationalists usually fall, namely, asking questions. I know nothing more disagreeable that does not absolutely shock one's principles, than to be subjected to the society of a questioner.

  • It is not the correct thing to scold children for asking questions: this is about as reasonable as to scold them for breathing or thinking.

  • ... human beings can ask questions. 'Can': are able to. Not 'may': are permitted to. And being able to ask but not asking, people abdicate, tissue by tissue, their chief difference from stones.

  • Humans, the only self-regarding animals, blessed or cursed with this torturing higher faculty, have always wanted to know why.

  • She hated being asked what's the matter. Most women hate it, whether anything's the matter or not.

  • If you see a shy person, ask them some questions like, 'Why are you so shy? Tell everyone, we're all listening.'

  • Curiosity and courtesy are very often at variance.

  • The art of clinical diagnosis lies in the ability to ask the right questions.

  • The way a question is asked limits and disposes the ways in which any answer to it — right or wrong — may be given.

  • If we would have new knowledge, we must get us a whole world of new questions.

  • The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer, it's that there are so many answers.

    • Ruth Benedict,
    • in Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict: A Humanist in Anthropology ()
  • Questions are dangerous, for they have answers.

  • God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there's no turning back.