Learn English – What do you call a question you know the answer to, but you want an answer


Consider this hypothetical scenario:

  1. You make plans with a significant other
  2. They bail on you because they are too tired
  3. You find out they went out with someone else
  4. You ask, despite knowing the answer, "did you end up going to sleep early last night?"
  5. They respond, "Ya"
  6. You respond, "That was a(n) _________ question"

I don't think it's rhetorical because you're expecting an answer. However, the question is asked for a different purpose than a traditional question since it's a test to see if the friend (or whomever) will lie or tell the truth. Is there a name for this type of question? Like… "unveiling question" or "truth-seeking question" lol?


The goal of this question is to determine whether the other party will speak the known truth. With that said, it is not a:

  • trick question. There is a correct and obvious answer
  • loaded question. There is no assumption – it is factual
  • trap question. The question can't expose ignorance since both parties know the answer.
  • interrogation. This is too generalized for what I'm looking for. "To question thoroughly"
  • prompt. This isn't a means to encourage a hesitant speaker

I'm unsure of whether "leading" is correct. To me, a leading question is one where the questioner doesn't actually have an answer to the question, and also needs to make the question specific for legal reasons. Whereas the questioner in my scenario above knows the answer, and doesn't necessarily have to ask a specific question, but rather uses it to expedite the unveiling process since the question in itself is a guise for an ulterior goal.

Also, I'm not looking for a general saying, nor an idiom – I'm looking to fill the blank in my scenario. Similar to how one would ask a rhetorical question where the questioned party answers, you would respond stating, "That was a rhetorical question."


I'm not looking for a word to describe the question (appending a word to "question"), but rather a word that is the type of question, but also flows well with the sentence and atmosphere. I'm essentially hoping/looking for something like "rhetorical question," but for this context.

If someone asks a rhetorical question and someone answers it, you can state that it's a rhetorical question, which is both the type of question, as well as a standalone explanation where the other party immediately understands that the question was unneeded. However, in this context, I want this type of question to make the other party immediately understand that they made a mistake and are in trouble, without having to add additional explanation.

Best Answer

It's a "leading" question or an "interrogating" question. It is designed to prompt a specific confirmatory response.

However, if those seem too general or insufficient, you might consider "verifying", "substantiating, or "confirmatory" as adequate answers. The truth is already known and verification/confirmation is sought.

6.You respond, "That was a(n) verifying question"

6.You respond, "That was a(n) confirmatory question"