Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21
  1. Just Joined
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jul 2016
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    No Idea Why

    The sentence "I have no idea why she considers such information relevant," appears to lack a preposition. Should it read, "I have no idea OF why, etc." or "I have no idea ABOUT why, etc."? In speaking, I would omit any prepositions and simply use the first version. Can you suggest why proper usage favors one form over the other?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Nov 2013
    • Posts: 7,820
    #2

    Re: No Idea Why

    I think 'why' is an adverb; that's why a preposition is not needed before it.
    I am not a teacher.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Great Britain
      • Current Location:
      • Great Britain

    • Join Date: Jul 2016
    • Posts: 18
    #3

    Re: No Idea Why

    This is a very interesting question. Consider these similar sentences:

    1. I don't know why he did it.
    2. I have no information about/on why he did it.

    In 1. the meaning is similar to "I have no idea why..." but in this case the grammar is more obvious because "know" is a verb which can take a direct object e.g. I don't know the answer.

    In 2. the form is initially the same as "I have no idea" (have + no + object noun) but then we need a preposition after "information". Omitting the preposition would feel wrong, and be wrong, in my opinion.

    So my tentative conclusion is that "I have no idea why" is idiomatic and perhaps the "of" has disappeared from common usage with the passage of time. I can imagine the phrase being said with "of" but it sounds old-fashioned.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 9,301
    #4

    Re: No Idea Why

    Quote Originally Posted by Midlands Hammer View Post
    So my tentative conclusion is that "I have no idea why" is idiomatic and perhaps the "of" has disappeared from common usage with the passage of time. I can imagine the phrase being said with "of" but it sounds old-fashioned.
    I have no idea of why sounds wrong, not old-fashioned. I have no idea why follows the same construction as I have no idea how. Neither phrase requires of.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #5

    Re: No Idea Why

    You've softened your argument with your last sentence. You were arguing that it was wrong, not simply unnecessary.
    I agree with your softened argument that "I have no idea of how he did it" is unnecessary, but I'd say it's grammatical.
    If you said, "I have no idea", it's likely that someone would ask "About what?" - indicating that a preposition is natural there. To this you might answer, "About how he did it."

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 9,301
    #6

    Re: No Idea Why

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You've softened your argument with your last sentence. You were arguing that it was wrong, not simply unnecessary.
    I agree with your softened argument that "I have no idea of how he did it" is unnecessary, but I'd say it's grammatical.
    If you said, "I have no idea", it's likely that someone would ask "About what?" - indicating that a preposition is natural there. To this you might answer, "About how he did it."
    I agree there's room for a preposition after no idea. I don't think of is the right one.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. tzfujimino's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,697
    #7

    Re: No Idea Why

    "I have no idea as to why ..." also sounds good to me.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Nov 2013
    • Posts: 7,820
    #8

    Re: No Idea Why

    I am not a teacher.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • Great Britain
      • Current Location:
      • Great Britain

    • Join Date: Jul 2016
    • Posts: 18
    #9

    Re: No Idea Why

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I have no idea of why sounds wrong, not old-fashioned. I have no idea why follows the same construction as I have no idea how. Neither phrase requires of.
    Check this usage here: I have no real idea of what it must be like to face a life tariff as a teenager. (from http://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?q=have+no+idea+of&l=0) This is from "The Guardian".

  6. Matthew Wai's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Nov 2013
    • Posts: 7,820
    #10

    Re: No Idea Why

    'What' is a pronoun. Can 'why' be so?
    I am not a teacher.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. came up with a new idea
    By nelson13 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 31-Oct-2012, 11:47
  2. I really have no idea about this!
    By roseriver1012 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23-Jan-2010, 03:12
  3. do you have any idea?
    By Offroad in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 26-Jul-2008, 11:00
  4. No idea
    By iceman in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 29-May-2007, 16:06

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •