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    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 3

    how to answer to a 'why' question

    Hi there,
    Please someone tell me what is the directive of the university to answer a question begin with 'why' (in IGCSE ESL) in Exercise 1 and 2.
    Should you begin with 'Because'? I taught my students not to as it is not appropriate for the students to begin a sentence with a conjunction (though we elders do).

    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 966

    Re: how to answer to a 'why' question

    Consider this:

    Why did you not do this?
    (I did not do this) because, say, I was busy.

    Informally, you can omit the bracketed part (situational ellipsis). Doing so does not go against grammar. In an official environment, however, avoid it for reasons pertaining to style. Terse. Isn't it?

    Is that what you asked for? (I hope).

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 3

    Re: how to answer a 'why' question

    The university has a clear idea of how should a student approach a question, especially an IGCSE and ESL comprehension question as it is meant to be very precise and direct in its nature (please consider and compare English as First Language and English as Second Language in their nature of answering the questions). I need an answer which must reflect the guidelines of the university. However, thank you for the suggestion.

  1. Nannou's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: Oct 2009
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    Re: how to answer to a 'why' question

    In a learning context we use only what is most appropriate in terms of structure and use. Students always tend to answer directly without thinking of the appropriateness of what they say because they want to show to the teacher, to their mates and to themselves that they are able to find the answer and thus to be praised. As instructors and tutors, we need to attract their attention to the rules governing the language in order to acquire and master it in the most appropriate and proper way.
    That's what I do myself with my students who do the same as yours because when I mark their exam sheets I take this into consideration.
    In fact, we need to make sure that our students know the difference between a wh-question and a yes/no-question and whether they assimilated the basic rules of asking and answering both types.

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