is there a such thing as a "stupid question"

well, is there?

Would not that presume a stupid answer?

If it’s asked in a genuine desire for information, no (although if it an easily found answer, expect ribbing for not finding out on your own).

If it’s asked to be “cute”, or “clever”, or to be a jackass, yes, hence the saying “There are no stupid questions, only stupid people.” because it’s the questioner who makes the question “stupid”.

“Yeah, you chew a little Juicy Fruit–it’s good for your soul.”

Your query posits its own answer.

(Unrelated to previous comment)
Yes. It’s “Can I ask you a question?”

Another good stupid one is “Are you asleep?” Also, the ninth time you say the word wadayamean about the same exact thing it becomes stupid.

My dad had a college prof that presented these introductory remarks on the first day of the term for each new class:

There are three types of questions:
questions that seek information–these I will always answer;
questions that are asked to demonstrate the brilliance of the questioner–these I will answer if the answer is of benefit to the rest of the class;
questions that are asked to demonstrate the ignorance of the teacher–these I never answer.


I had a professor in grad school who refused to answer any question posed in this manner" This is probably a stupid question , but . . . ". If you asked him a question with a fairly obvious answer, he would answer. (In theory. In practice, he argued over almost every minor math error we caught him making, sign errors, and the like.)

A sample - you decide if it counts as a stupid question:

A girl I went to school with worked part time at one of those “educational toys” stores. A guy was buying an ant farm kit, which came in a shrink wrapped box. As she was ringing up the purchase he looked at it thoughtfully and then asked her:

“So, like, are the ants already in here or do I have to find my own?”

A stupid question is a poorly thought out question, usually one in which the questioner could answer if he put more thought into the question rather than experience diarrhea of the mouth.

<< “So, like, are the ants already in here or do I have to find my own?” >>

There are lots of questions that may be obvious to one person, but not to the other. I think your point, Miss Gretch, is that the person could have stopped and thought for about ten seconds and probably answered himself. But not necessarily. A question asked out of ignorance is not stupid. God knows, you should see some of the questions that Cecil gets.

I like Tomndeb’s classifications.

What?Could you repeat the question?

A stupid question is that question that you did not ask. No question is stupid.
I have asked questions all my life and some seem to be stupid, but if we do not ask questions we do not learn and learning is most important.
Some people say I “know” everything ?
No-one “KNOWS” everything unless they asked stupid questions.

Please feel free to email me

I have to agree with Dandmb50. Every time we refrain from asking a question because we don’t want to look stupid, we ARE being stupid!
And to Nicrz: to say “Can I ask you a question?” is redundant maybe, not stupid…

Men will cease to commit atrocities only when they cease to believe absurdities.

A stupid question is a question that you did not ask? Then, any qustion you are thinking of asking has the potential to be stupid, but is not so. If you decide not to ask it, it becomes stupid. BUT the question, for all intents and purposes, does not exist anymore. Therefore, there is no such thing as a stupid question :smiley:

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island


You contradict yourself… If the question EXISTS in your mind, at least for a few seconds, and you decide not to express it verbally to someone else in order to get an answer, it was then, according to your own words, a stupid question. Therefore, if I follow you correctly, there are TEMPORARY stupid questions, right?

“Heaven and Hell have been located inside the human brain”.
-John Taylor

Ahh, but the question doesn’t become stupid until you decide not to ask it. It’s not stupid while you’re while you’re mulling it over in your mind. When you discard the question, it becomes stupid. So it’s possable to have a question that was stupid, but not one that is stupid.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island


You win. Your handling of semantics is much, much better than was mine.


Any question that answers itself is stupid, in my book. A person who asks “Can I ask you a question?” has already demonstrated their ability to do so.
(Questions such as “Where should I stick this?” do NOT qualify) :slight_smile:

Here we go…!! Semantics again!

Nicrz says:

What are you Nick? A language purist?

What do you answer when someone asks for a “glass of water”? “…Glasses are made of glass, not water…”?

When someone’s asking if they ‘can ask you something’(obviously it has to be a ‘question’), they’re implicitely requesting your permission to do so, without stating the subject of the question firsthand.

How would you construct the question in question (he, he…)? “Can I ask you?”

How do you ask for a cup of coffee? “…excuse me, waiter, can I have a cup filled with coffee?”

As far as I know, the word “can” is colloquially interchangeable with the word “may”. You are being too literal, maybe.
Would things change if I say: “MAY I ask you something?”

“then again, I might be wrong”.
-Carl Sagan