Please look at the following

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/nirmala-questions-rich-nations/article8545194.ece

Nirmala questions rich nations.

This is a headline of an article from a newspaper, the link to the article I have quoted.

After reading the article, I didn't understand how "questions" is used. I want to know in what sense question is being used. Does it mean she expressed doubts?

  • Have you looked at the definition for the verb question - 'Ask (someone) questions, especially in an official context'? Why doesn't that help you understand?
    – ColleenV
    May 2, 2016 at 15:19
  • I do. But after reading the article I didn't find any questions being asked by the minister. That is why I asked this question and quoted the link.
    – Policewala
    May 2, 2016 at 15:35
  • Ah, I see now - I was confused by "in what sense" and thought we were talking about a grammatical sense and not which definition applies.
    – ColleenV
    May 2, 2016 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


Headlines can be difficult to understand because they are sometimes purposefully misleading or have double meanings to try to get you interested enough to read the article.

Question as a verb with an object can mean either '1. Ask (someone) questions, especially in an official context' or '1.1 Feel or express doubt about; raise objections to'.

After reading the article, Commerce Minister Nirmala didn't actually ask any questions, she just pointed out the hypocrisy of developed nations trying to say India is protectionist when they are acting in ways that are just as protectionist.

It seems very clear to me that "questions" in this sense is being used to mean "objects to", but the headline doesn't make it clear because it omits what the rich countries did that Nirmala objected to so that the headline isn't too long. If I question you, I interrogate you. If I want to object to something you've done, I question your actions, not you.

I suppose I could doubt your existence, but I still wouldn't say "I question you", I would say "I question your existence.". I could say "Don't question me - I know what I'm doing!", and I would be using that somewhat in the sense of "don't doubt me", but I'm not certain. I have to think about that case a little more. I think I would be more likely to say "Don't question my methods!" though.

Here are two example sentences from yourdictionary.com that show the difference:

Every Friday they went to town for groceries and he never questioned what she bought.


Everyone was pleased to see Pierre, everyone wished to meet him, and everyone questioned him about what he had seen.

  • ColleenV: You either reply to a question, seldom, or you comment on it, quite often. What was your choice defined this time to be so, say, wordy?
    – Victor B.
    May 2, 2016 at 16:37
  • 1
    @Rompey I don't understand your question. I answer questions I feel that I can write a useful answer to, and they take as many words as they take.
    – ColleenV
    May 2, 2016 at 17:36

You must log in to answer this question.

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