Rhetorical questions are a strange animal. They can throw us especially when someone manages to sneak in an absolute like “always”, “every”, “any”, “all” “never, “can’t”, and “don’t”. Like “Can’t you do anything right ¿”
“A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point. The question is used as a rhetorical device, posed for the sake of encouraging its listener to consider a message or viewpoint. Though these are technically questions, they do not always require a question mark.”
More on Wikipedia On Its Grammar:“In the 1580s, English printer Henry Denham invented a “rhetorical question mark” for use at the end of a rhetorical question; however, it died out of use in the 17th century. It was the reverse of an ordinary question mark, so that instead of the main opening pointing back into the sentence, it opened away from it.”
In this case I am suggesting inverting it as such ¿ , so that it is a combination of an inverted exclamation and question mark.
Maybe it is time to bring back a rhetorical question mark but I think such a mark is needed more so as a word, in an actual conversation, to warn us of this very clever ploy, especially on unsuspecting listeners.
I think that the best answer to such a rhetorical question could be “I am sorry but I prefer to hear what you actually think about me. i.e. That you seem to think that I cannot do anything right any of the time, right¿”
Or better still get an agreement on the use of rhetorical questions during serious conversation and especially on not including such absolutes as listed above.
actually Spanish uses the inverted question mark for interrogative sentences.
Maybe that a hangover from the Spanish inquisition 🙂