Does Responding With Why Or Why Not Make Any Difference?

Avatar Image
Evan2020 | 00:39 Thu 21st Oct 2021 | Phrases & Sayings
14 Answers
If someone says they don’t want to do something, is the other person responding by asking why not? exactly the same meaning as if they replied asking why? And that is to say would either one be an equally suitable response?


1 to 14 of 14rss feed

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by Evan2020. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
in that context they're the same - they both are ways of asking why the person doesn't want to. "Why not?" would be more commonly asked.

In other contexts though the words may have different meanings.
Question Author
Ok thanks Jno. Why exactly is why not more common in that context?
Both responses display a remarkably pitiful command of language. That's a slippery slope. Nothing good lies down that road. Before long, you'll be preceding every verb with "...go ahead and..."
because if the first person has said "not", the second person is using the same word to make it clear. If he just says "why?" the first person will have to understand that he means "why not?". It would be correct but a little less clear and you'd have to stop and think about it for a second.
Question Author
Ok got it thanks. I totally agree jno. One other thing what other things can the two phrases mean in a different context?
for instance, if I say "Let's go to Margate", a person answering "Why?" would want to know why we should go (and if said in a certain tone of voice, he might be hinting that he doesn't want to go). If he says "Why not?" he's suggesting he does want to go.
Question Author
Ok got it thanks jno your answers are very thorough and I think spot on. Oh I just realized one other thing you made a great point I had never thought of before on how in response to saying they don’t want to do it if you just say why it could be misinterpreted. Do you think you could give an example of like how it could be misinterpreted and saying “why not?” helps avoid that?
Why not is used as an agreement to a suggestion. "Shall we go for a drink?" "Why not"
Question Author
So true Jackdaw33.
I thought we covered all this when you asked last time?
why not pairs with the negative statement

I DOAN wanna do this ---- why NOT?

I DO wanna do this - - oh, can you tell me why

not every word has meaning by itself - which is a characteristic of English and phrasal verbs - get - get on - get on with
you have the same in French - pourquoi pas
and Italian - perche no

so Chomsky wd argue that it is a deep grammar rule
// I thought we covered all this when you asked last time?//
after my rather interesting Queen is ill thread....
I looked outta the window and saw a full moon

( no that is NOT a non sequitur..... why not)
Does such a fascinating topic merit two threads? (If so, why - if not, why not?)

1 to 14 of 14rss feed

Do you know the answer?

Does Responding With Why Or Why Not Make Any Difference?

Answer Question >>

Related Questions

Sorry, we can't find any related questions. Try using the search bar at the top of the page to search for some keywords, or choose a topic and submit your own question.