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    • Join Date: Oct 2007
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    #1

    agatha christi's "WHY"

    Hello,

    the other day I was reading two whodunits of Agatha Christi's and I wondered what "Why" starting a sentence could mean. I would appreciate a lot if you could give it a meaning.

    Thanks,
    Balázs.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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      • American English
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    #2

    Re: agatha christi's "WHY"

    "Why" asks the reason for something.

    Why were you late? (There was an accident on the highway and it caused a delay.)

    Why don't you like her? (She started an affair with a friend's husband, knowing he was married.)

    Why do you think you are a good candidate for this job? (I have four years of similar experience...)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.


    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 576
    #3

    Re: agatha christi's "WHY"

    (Not a teacher)

    What Barb_D said above is correct, and this applies to 'why' being used in a statement too:

    Why he spent all his money when he knows we're trying to save for a holiday, I'll never know.

    I don't know why I did it, I wasn't thinking clearly.


    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 32
    #4

    Re: agatha christi's "WHY"

    Thanks for your quick reply though I did not give any examples. I knew all the usage you wrote and I meant another meaning of "Why" beginning a sentence, separated by a comma.

    For example:
    "Inspector Poirot was investigating a case. Why, he was not quite sure who the murderer was."

    In the above mentioned context, Why cannot be translated in the traditional way, it must mean something else. I wonder what.

    Thanks again, best regards,

    Balázs.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: agatha christi's "WHY"

    It would have been so much more helpful if you had included the context in the original question.

    It's mild interjection/exclamation, usually of surprise.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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