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    #1

    how come vs why

    Hello, guys.

    It seems to me that the word order after "why" and "how come" is always different.
    Compare:
    You're so rich and pompous, why do you waste your time with a bunch of bums like us?
    vs
    You're so rich and pompous, how come you waste your time with a bunch of bums like us?

    So, do we always use the dierect word order in questions after "how come"?

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: how come vs why

    "How come" does not take an auxiliary verb, so there is nothing to invert.

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    #3

    Re: how come vs why

    Are you trying to be rude with the question? I ask because pompous is a negative word.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: how come vs why

    We use "How come" fairly frequently in BrE, and we don't invert after it.

    Why are you home so early?
    How come you're home so early?

    Why is your face so red?
    How come your face is so red?

    There is no auxiliary in any of those.

    These have an auxiliary in the "Why" version:

    Why did you do that?
    How come you did that?

    Why don't you have any chocolate?
    How come you don't have any chocolate?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: how come vs why

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    We use "How come" fairly frequently in BrE, and we don't invert after it.

    ...

    These have an auxiliary in the "Why" version:

    ....

    Why don't you have any chocolate?
    How come you don't have any chocolate?
    Strictly speaking, the 'how come' version also has an auxiliary ('don't'), but it clearly refers to the negation.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: how come vs why

    Quote Originally Posted by Esgaleth View Post
    Strictly speaking, the 'how come' version also has an auxiliary ('don't'), but it clearly refers to the negation.
    Apologies, I meant to put "How come you have no chocolate?" in that example.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: how come vs why

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Apologies, I meant to put "How come you have no chocolate?" in that example.
    No apology needed, quite the opposite. I'd think your original sentence seems more interesting not only because it does have an auxiliary that is not inverted but also because it's very genuine (life is really very sad without any chocolate) Those who like it safe and predictable might want to stick to the second sentence of course.

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