Author Topic: 'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'  (Read 3997 times)

about to succeed

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'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'
« on: 14 December 2009, 02:53:16 »
During my stay in the US I used to talk with children a lot, mainly because of my job responsibilities. The thing is that the majority of those kids under 10 years of age used to say 'How come...?' instead of traditional 'Why...?'. At the same time I do understand that it is a bit of slang, but still ... Wouldn't it be easier for kids to say 'Why...?'? Meaning is almost the same in the matter.
So, how come?)
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SS.

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Re: 'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'
« Reply #1 on: 14 December 2009, 13:59:31 »
You are not the only one who wants to know the truth.  ;D
How did the phrase “how come” come to mean “why”? How come we needed a longer, less obvious way of saying “why” when we already have the word “why”? Is this a southern colloquialism, or do people everywhere use “how come?” to mean “why”?
"The first appearance of “how come” in print dates to 1848, but since that was in Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms and the phrase was described as being common at that time, it is almost certainly older."
"“How come?” carries a challenging, more emphatic tone than a simple “why?” would convey (”How come Jimmy never has to wash the dishes?”). Unlike “why,” “how come” strongly suggests that the questioner has already developed an opinion on the situation and has decided that something is not proper or fair."

Another American English word.

about to succeed

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Re: 'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'
« Reply #2 on: 14 December 2009, 14:44:00 »
Thanks for a useful link. I satisfied my curiosity a bit :)
« Last Edit: 14 December 2009, 15:14:35 by about to succeed »
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about to succeed

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Re: 'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'
« Reply #3 on: 09 January 2010, 02:22:52 »

Another American English word.

Are those easy to understand for native British English speaker?
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Re: 'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'
« Reply #4 on: 09 January 2010, 10:35:07 »
Are those easy to understand for native British English speaker?
That's a question for a native British English speaker.  :)
Though I've never heard the phrase from them I believe they can understand.

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Re: 'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'
« Reply #5 on: 16 January 2010, 18:14:21 »
Just asked a native English speaker - abt 60 years old pensioner - and he said that this expression is quite common in UK.

about to succeed

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Re: 'How come?' instead of traditional 'Why?'
« Reply #6 on: 16 January 2010, 22:54:07 »
So, I can use this one whenever I want to :)
It's how you deal with failure that determines how you achieve success.