The Questionand Answer Transition

A second way of linking paragraphs is to ask and answer a rhetorical question. Usually the question is placed at the end of the preceding paragraph and the answer at the beginning of the following one. Nancy Mitford, commenting upon the apparently compulsive need of tourists to travel, concludes one paragraph and opens the next like this:

Why do they do it?

The answer is that the modern dwelling is comfortable, convenient, and clean, but it is not a home.

Less often the question appears at the opening of the new paragraph, as in this discussion of the ultimate defeat of the Crusades:

With want of enthusiasm, want of new recruits, want, indeed, of stout purpose, the remaining Christian principalities gradually crumbled. Antioch fell in 1268, the Hospitaler fortress of Krak des Chevaliers in 1271. In 1291, with the capture of the last great stronghold, Acre, the Moslems had regained all their possessions, and the great crusades ended, in failure.

What went wrong? There was a failure of morale clearly. . . . Morris Bishop

The question-and-answer transition makes a very strong tie, but, as with the rhetorical question generally, it is too obvious a strategy to be called upon very often.

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