I've read this expression a few times, but I really don't understand it. It's a 'broken question' an incorrect question? What nuance does it have?

EDIT: Example: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/a/257928/126762

Thank you for your time!


2 Answers 2


I am a long-time native speaker of English and have never heard the phrase "broken question". I understand it to mean a question that asks how to do something that one should not be doing in the first place, or that is posed in such a way that the actual answer to the question is made off-limits.

When playing with matches, should one light one match at a time, or several?

If you can't take the train or a bus, because you have no cash on you at the moment, is it better to hitch a ride with a sociopath, or to borrow a police car while the cop is in the donut shop?

I have always understood the supposedly paradoxical question, What is the sound of one hand clapping? to be not a paradox at all, but a simple example of a broken question. We can easily go astray philosophically by posing our questions in a way that shuts the door on truth.


As my experience, 'broken question' have a lot meaning. But it is probably meant probably your question is grammatically wrong or it does not have a correct meaning.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .