“Address A Question” Meaning (And How It Differs From Answering)

Addressing a question is different from answering a question. It’s important to know the difference between the two verbs “address” and “answer” in this case. This article will look at what “address a question” means and how to use it.

What Does It Mean To “Address A Question”?

“Address a question” means to give attention to a question without necessarily finding the answer. Often, a question we “address” is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no” answer (i.e., “I’m going to address the question of a salary raise you asked about earlier”).

What Does It Mean To "Address A Question"?

The definition of “address,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “to give attention to or deal with a matter or problem.” When used as a verb in this way, we’re simply talking about “discussing a question” rather than answering it.

We typically “address” a question when we don’t have the answer straight away. Instead, we’re looking for a reasonable discussion with the person (or people) that asked us the question, and we hope to get to a conclusion by the end of that discussion.

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What Is The Difference Between “Addressing” And “Answering” A Question?

“Addressing” a question talks about discussing the question to conclude by the end of the discussion (though an answer isn’t always guaranteed). “Answering” a question gives the solution for the question previously asked.

Sometimes, when we address a question, we can look for the answer during the discussion. That means it’s possible to “address a question” and then turn it into an “answer.” However, we can’t do the same the other way round since an “answer” doesn’t need further “addressing.”

Once we’ve “answered” a question, the solution is final. An answer is what a question looks for, so when it is found, we need to talk about the question no further.

On the flip side of that, if we simply “address the question,” it means we don’t have the answer straight away. We’re willing to have an open discussion about what the answer might be, but generally, the question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no” answer.

How to use “Address a question” in a sentence

It would help you understand how “address a question” works by seeing it in a sentence. From this, you can see when it’s appropriate to use and maybe start to use it for yourself.

  1. I want to address the question you raised with me earlier, if that’s alright with you?
  2. We should address the question of our relationship arrangement while we’re still sober.
  3. Let’s address the question of your salary. I know you asked a while ago, but it’s time we had a long chat.
  4. I think we would address a question from one of our employees, though I’m not sure which one is the easiest to answer.
  5. Would you like to address the question, or are you going to keep dancing around it?
  6. Can you please just address my question so that I can get something worthwhile for my editor?
  7. Address this question before we move on; I’d like to hear your take on it.
  8. We should be addressing the question at hand before we talk about anything that doesn’t pertain to it!
  9. This isn’t solved, and you should continue to address this question until we figure it out.

Addressing a question doesn’t get a guaranteed answer. Often, we’ll ask somebody to “address” a question when we want a rough idea or discussion with them, even if we know we’re not going to get an outright answer.

It’s common to hear reporters ask politicians to “address a question.” This is because politicians are notorious for dancing around questions to try and avoid giving a reasonable and fair answer. It’s the reporter’s job to try and get an answer, but they’ll settle for the politician at least “addressing” it.

Typically, addressing a question in the workplace is good when your boss wants to talk to you about a question raised. However, sometimes it can backfire, especially if you’ve asked a particularly heavy question (like a question about your salary).

If you draw attention to certain things with your question, you might get rewarded or punished accordingly. In the workplace, it’s mostly dependent on your ethic, so you should have nothing to worry about if you’re a quality employee.

Synonyms for “Addressing a Question”

If you’re struggling with the meaning and usage of “addressing a question,” we believe one of these synonyms might be more suitable for you:

  • Discuss a question
  • Have a discussion
  • Talk about a question
  • Let’s sit down and chat
  • Address the issue
  • Deal with the issue
  • Tackle the issue
  • Consider the issue
  • Consider the matter
  • Discuss the matter
  • Raise a concern
  • Raise an issue
  • Examine the question
  • Approach the issue

As you can see, there are plenty of verb choices you can use in place of “address.” Each one talks about visiting the issue and approaching it slowly rather than answering it outright.

With all of these synonyms, it’s possible to come to a conclusion or answer by the end of the discussion. However, for the first part of the discussion, there is no definitive answer that anyone can give.

How to address a question in an essay

There is one other instance where you might need to address a question. It would help if you learned about it since you might need to talk about a question in an essay.

To address a question in an essay, you should make it obvious what the question you want to address is. Once you’ve asked it, make further points to discuss the question, and come to a personal summary at the end (without giving a direct answer).

The idea behind addressing a question in an essay isn’t to answer it. Instead, it’s to draw attention to it and impress the reader with your knowledge and ability to address it in a critical way.

  • What is the problem with the school’s policy?
  • I’m going to address this question over the course of this essay.

It would help if you started your essay in the above way to let the reader know that you’re working towards addressing the question throughout your writing.

You may also like:

Do You Ask Or Pose A Question? (Difference Explained)

“Address An Issue” – Meaning & Usage (Helpful Examples)