Embedded Questions


Embedded Questions

Ericksonian Language Patterns —
Embedded Questions are the same thing as embedded commands only different. They are often really statements but are responded to consciously as a question. This is because their grammatical structure is that of a question, but your tonality in delivering them is that of a command. (In most examples below I’ll omit the question mark.)

“I wonder if you can tell the difference.”
“I’m curious as to how you will be able to use embedded questions in your life.”

Notice the implied question in the sentence openings, “I’m wondering if… I’m curious as to…” etc.

(Remember that without shifts in tonality, etc., there is no command at all. You must shift your tonality in a way that is noticeable and analogous to a command. You are telling them to DO something.)

A. Adding their Name
Just as in embedded commands, embedded questions can be made more powerful if you insert their name into the sentence structure just before (or after ) the embedded command.

“I wonder if one can, Elizabeth, feel comfortable in new situations.”
“Do you think it’s possible that a person could, Phillip, notice a growing sense of distance from one’s problems.”
“Can you, listen intently, Bob, to everything that I say?”

B. “Now”
Again, “now” is not a magic word. And, in the same way we talked about them for embedded commands, you can use them for embedded questions.

“Is it possible you might want to enjoy that meaningful pause . . . now.”

So, now, write your own examples. The best way to learn is by doing. Write them. Practice saying them out loud with the proper tonal shift. Practice delivering them to a human being. Write at least ten. Twenty is better. I wonder if you’ll find that you utilize the few sentence openings offered on this page and then go from there.

Do you think you could use them on waitresses? “I wonder if you could bring me a cup of coffee.
Could you use them on bus drivers? “I was curious if you would be able to… let me out at the corner.”
Wouldn’t it be fun to use them on your kids, your friends, your clients, your customers?
What level of facility would you develop if you were to use them, courteously, and enjoy the process?

About Doug O'Brien

Doug O’Brien is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, and a Certified Hypnotherapist. In 1988, while assisting at NLP and NAC training seminars with Anthony Robbins, Doug achieved the designation of Master Trainer. He now conducts numerous seminars of his own around the globe (specializing in the “Sleight of Mouth” patterns of Robert Dilts, NLP Certification Courses, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy) and helped found Columbia-Presbyterian’s Department of Complementary Medicine with Dr. Mehmet Oz.

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