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    #1

    About "Why don't you~?" questions

    Hello,
    I have a question about "Why don't you ~?" questions.

    I'm a little confused as to how I could tell a person's question is 1. a suggestion or 2. a Wh- question.

    For example, in the following conversation I'm not sure if B's sentence is no. 1 or 2.

    A: "I still a have a neck pain."

    B: "Why don't you follow Jack's advice?"

    Also, if B said "Why do you not follow Jack's advice?", would its meaning differ from the one above?

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    #2

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    No.

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    #3

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    You mean the two sentences have the same meaning in conversation.

    Which sentences should be used in formal writing?
    Last edited by bigC; 19-Oct-2015 at 21:17.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    Quote Originally Posted by forinfo View Post
    I'm a little confused as to how I could tell a person's question is 1. a suggestion or 2. a Wh- question.

    For example, in the following conversation I'm not sure if B's sentence is no. 1 or 2.

    A: "I still a have a neck pain."

    B: "Why don't you follow Jack's advice?"
    Without more context, we don't know. However, the speakers know the context.

    Also, if B said "Why do you not follow Jack's advice?", would its meaning differ from the one above?
    That uncontracted version is very unlikely to be heard in normal conversation. In formal writing it would probably be a wh- question. We would word a suggestion as "I suggest you follow ..."
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 19-Oct-2015 at 21:23. Reason: Typo correction

  2. lotus888's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    Quote Originally Posted by forinfo View Post
    Hello,
    I have a question about "Why don't you ~?" questions.

    I'm a little confused as to how I could tell a person's question is 1. a suggestion or 2. a Wh- question.

    For example, in the following conversation I'm not sure if B's sentence is no. 1 or 2.

    A: "I still a have a neck pain."

    B: "Why don't you follow Jack's advice?"

    Also, if B said "Why do you not follow Jack's advice?", would its meaning differ from the one above?
    A: "I still have a neck pain." (one "a")

    B: "Why don't you follow Jack's advice?" (a first time recommendation)

    B: "Why didn't you follow Jack's advice?" (a comment on not heeding advice)


    --lotus

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    For me, "Why don't you follow Jack's advice?" can be ambiguous. It could be taken as a suggestion in the same way that "Hey, why don't we go to the cinema on Saturday night?" is a suggestion. It could also be a direct question - "Jack has given you some advice. Why aren't you following it?" I admit that that would be more naturally worded as either "Why didn't you follow Jack's advice?" or "Why aren't you following Jack's advice?" If Jack frequently gives the person advice and that advice is ignored, the question could also be "Why don't you ever follow Jack's advice?"
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    I appreciate all of your replies. They were very helpful in clearing up my long-term confusion.

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    #8

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    Quote Originally Posted by bigC View Post
    You mean the two sentences have the same meaning in conversation?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    I think that you have raised a very good point.

    According to some experts:

    Raul: I have a pain in my arm.

    Mona: Why don't you go see Dr. Wong?

    Raul: Good idea! I have heard that he's really good. What's his telephone number?

    *****

    Raul: The pain in my arm is getting worse every day.

    Mona: Why do you not go see Dr. Wong? I have told you a million times to go see him, have I not? I am getting sick and tired of your ignoring my good advice. Why are you so stubborn? I give up!

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    #9

    Re: About "Why don't you~?" questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Without more context, we don't know. However, the speakers know the context.

    That uncontracted version is very unlikely to be heard in normal conversation. In formal writing it would probably be a wh- question. We would word a suggestion as "I suggest you follow ..."

    The uncontracted form is not commonly used colloquially unless there is a reason for not contracting it - the need to stress the not in certain contexts:

    Why don't you follow Jacks's advice? - [I don't know what you're doing, but Jack knows best so taking his advice would be sensible.]

    Why do you not follow Jack's advice? - [I know you're not following it, and I want to know why not.]

    b
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