5 clarification questions (that help)

This blogspot is based on the question “what are the 5 clarification questions?”. It will discuss the various clarifying questions that can be used to obtain a deeper knowledge and allows an individual to read between the lines. Enables the receiver to attain a clear picture and further understand the information. It will enlist the 5 questions and provide their usage.

What are the 5 clarification questions?

Following are the 5 clarifying questions that can be used to effectively obtain information about the underlying scenario:

  • Open questions
  • Closed questions
  • Rhetorical questions 
  • Funnel questions
  • Leading questions

Open questions for clarification

Open questions are aimed at answers to the questions based on “when”, “what” and “how”. The answers are usually long and they provide details related to the concerned scenario. In order to explore the feelings and emotions about a certain event the phrases like “tell me more about it” and “describe the incident further please”. 

The open ended questions are beneficial in the following ways:

  • Open-ended questions help to develop and initiate a meaningful conversation.
  • Open ended questions facilitate interactively carrying out a conversation.
  • Open ended questions aid in finding out more details about an incident or an event.
  • Open ended questions help to frame an introspective report of an individual about any experience.
  • Open ended questions provide a deeper insight about the person’s viewpoint and opinions about any event.

Some examples of the open ended questions are:

What happened at the party?

Why do you think your mom acted that way?

How was your experience at the meeting?

Describe your feelings related to the incident in detail?

What do you think was the outcome of the conflict in your relationship?

Closed questions for clarification

The closed questions or the close ended questions are used to  get factual specific answers that are based on single words. The close ended questions gain very short answers. Closed ended questions only provide relevant information to clear out any ambiguities.

For example following are some of the closed questions;

  • Do you like pink more or red?
  • Which city do you live in? 
  • Would you like to have some tea?
  • What is your address?
  • Are you available today?

Following are the advantages of close ended questions:

  • Closed ended questions act as a helping tool to test your own knowledge or the other person’s knowledge about something.
  • Closed ended questions aid in concluding a discussion or finalizing a conclusion about a decision.
  • Closed ended questions facilitate in frame setting for future conversations.
  • Closed-ended questions often act as ice breakers to break the silence.

The closed ended questions have some underlying disadvantages. The disadvantages of using closed ended questions are:

  • A closed question can often lead to awkward silences in the conversation.
  • The wrong timing of asking a closed ended question during a conversation can limit the outcome of the conversation and break the reciprocity.
  • Closed ended questions disrupt the flow of meaningful conversations and demean their value.

Rhetorical questions for clarification

Rhetorical questions are used to engage the listener. Rhetorical questions are statements that are phrased in the form of questions. These questions are used to draw the listener to agreeableness without asking for answers. When used back to back, rhetorical questions serve their purpose the best.

Rhetorical questions are usually used to make a point more clear. The answer to a rhetorical question usually lies in the question itself. The rhetorical questions are also called interrogatio or reversed polarity questions.

Some examples of a rhetorical question are :

  • Isn’t the display of art great in this exhibition?
  • Don’t you think the choice of colors and placement is just perfect?
  • Isn’t the idea behind the exhibition very humanistic?

The advantages of using rhetorical questions as tools for clarification are :

  • Rhetorical questions have a tendency to engage the listeners.
  • As an outcome of rhetorical questions, people tend to agree to your opinion.

Funnel questions for clarification

The term funnel in funnel questions symbolically defines the aim of funnel questions. The funnel questions are majorly used to start from gaining general information about a scenario and move towards more specific ones. 

The funnel questions are used for clarification and are based on the technique of deductive reasoning. It starts with a general question and probes down deep to the specific details. 

The funnel questions are mostly used by detectives and criminologists by picking up a specific statement of the criminal and probing down into minute details.

While using the funnel questions for clarification, it is always better to start with close ended questions and move towards the open ended questions as you probe down into deep details.

For example an interrogation officer might ask a crime suspect the following questions:

  • How many people were there at the crime scene?
  • Were they children or adults?
  • Were they males or females?
  • Were they wearing anything identical to each other?
  • What was the color of their clothes?
  • Can you recall any specific logo on their clothes?
  • Can you recall the names they used to address each other?

The funnel questions help the listener to mentaly revisit the scenario. In the above example if the interrogation officer had directly asked the last question, the crime scene witness would have found it difficult to answer the question and recall the names.

The funnel questions for clarification have the following advantages:

  • Funnel questions help to find out the details about a specific factor.
  • Funnel questions facilitate gaining the confidence of the listener.
  • Funnel questions increase the motivation of the listener and they are better able to focus on the questions.

Leading questions for clarification

The leading questions are used for clarification. The leading questions are based on putting words to the mouth of the listener. The leading questions are used to lead the listener to your own opinion and perspective about an event. Leading questions are usually closed ended questions.

The leading questions are based on the following strategies:

  • The leading questions are usually based on pre assumed notions. For example, “how late do you think you will arrive for the presentation tomorrow?”.
  • The leading questions often involve a personal appeal to be agreed to at the end of the question. For example “Sara’s work is more appealing as compared to jhon’s work, don’t you think so?”.
  • The leading questions are phrased in ways that leave the respondent with no other option but saying a “yes” or agreeing to your perspective. For example saying “would you like me to go for plan B?”, instead of asking “which plan do you think is better for me, plan a or plan b?


The present blogspot was based on the 5 effective clarification questions that are commonly used. We learned the various characteristics and advantages of open ended questions, closed ended questions, rhetorical questions, funnel questions and leading questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 5 Clarification Questions

What is the example of a clarifying question?

The examples of clarifying questions include:

Is this what you said?
What resources did you use for the assignment?
What do you think is the outcome of the situation?

What is the purpose of a clarifying question?

The purpose behind a clarifying question is to gain a deep insight into the phenomena, understand better the other person’s feelings and any related concerns.

What are the various types of clarifying questions ?

The various types of clarifying questions include:

Probing questions
Leading questions
Open ended questions
Close ended questions
Leading questions
Rhetorical questions