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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    why (modern equivalent)

    What interjection can be used in modern English as an equivalent to the old fashioned Why! (meaning surprise).
    I need some up-to-date interjection to be used in the following micro dialogue:

    Let Dave help Lily. - Why! Dave? He is meeting Steve!

    Here's the entry in the dictionary which says the word Why! as an interjection is outdated:

    http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/why_2


    P.S. Can Hey! or Huh! be used in this context?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 11-Aug-2014 at 20:15.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: why (modern equivalent)

    Is 'Wow!' OK? See http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/wow_1

    Not a teacher.

  3. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: why (modern equivalent)

    Wow expresses very big surprise and I need some "milder" surprise without "being very much impressed by something".
    Maybe Why! could be OK (I'm making up a microdialogue for my students), but the dictionary says it's old-fashioned
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: why (modern equivalent)

    Your exclamation point confused me. A comma is correct: Why, Pablo, what a wonderful painting!"

    It's still used, though you might be right that it's on the way out. I haven't noticed. Nothing has replaced it. Nothing needs to. Words and expressions die natural deaths, and new words and expressions are constantly born, but there is never a one-to-one exchange.

    You could also say "Whoa, Pablo...." or "Man, Pablo...." which are newer. "There are also the older "Gee, Pablo...." and "Hey, Pablo...."

    There are a lot of choices. Keep listening to English speakers and you'll get the hang of it.

  5. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: why (modern equivalent)

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Your exclamation point confused me. A comma is correct: Why, Pablo, what a wonderful painting!"
    And in my particular example, would the following be correct:
    Let Dave help Lily. - Why, Dave meets Steve! (= it was agreed before that Dave meets Steve, so he can't meet Lily)
    Last edited by englishhobby; 13-Aug-2014 at 13:30.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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