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  1. VIP Member
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    #1

    The whys and wherefores

    I have tried to use "the whys and wherefores" in my sentence. Would you please correct my mistakes?

    The company owner has called a press conference to give the whys and wherefores for the factory closure.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The whys and wherefores

    You used it right. Of might be better than for.

    I've always wondered whether "wherefore" means anything.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  3. probus's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The whys and wherefores

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    You used it right. Of might be better than for.

    I've always wondered whether "wherefore" means anything.
    Me too. "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" Some online sources claim that wherefore means why. Why art thou Romeo????? I don't think so.

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    #4

    Re: The whys and wherefores

    The company owner has called a press conference to explain the factory closure.
    I am not a teacher or a native speaker.

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    #5

    Re: The whys and wherefores

    not a teacher

    Some online sources claim that wherefore means why.

    It's my understanding that the archaic "wherefore?" does mean "why?", "for what purpose/reason?".
    The question Juliet asks is, "Why are you Romeo Montague, rather than someone from a different family?".
    She then suggests that he denies his father and the family name, or swear his love to her and she will deny her family.

    "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
    Deny thy father and refuse they name;
    Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
    And I'll no longer be a Capulet."

    Shakespeare uses "wherefore" with this meaning several times, including in Act 3 of the same play where Juliet asks, "But wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?". She's asking "why?", not "where?".

    And Macbeth asks:
    "But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'?
    I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen'
    Stuck in my throat."

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #6

    Re: The whys and wherefores

    I agree with JMurray- though much misunderstood, it is a reference to his belonging to the family her family is feuding with, when pretty much any other family would do. The most common misinterpretation is that it means where, which makes no sense in the context.

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