How vs Why: Difference and Comparison

Human beings communicate through language; they express themselves by saying things, and what they speak and how they speak is language.

A conversation between two people is a composition of sentences and an alignment of questions and answers.

Key Takeaways

  1. “How” is a word used to ask about the process, method, or manner in which something occurs or is done.
  2. “Why” is a question word used to ask about the reason, purpose, or cause behind an action, event, or situation.
  3. Both “how” and “why” are used to ask questions, but “how” focuses on the process or method, while “why” seeks to understand the reason or cause.

How vs Why

How is an adverb and interrogative word used to inquire about the way or manner of a thing. It refers to the manner of occurrence or question of a process when used in a sentence. Why is an interrogative word used to ask about the reason for occurrence or as a reference to the reason in a sentence.

How vs Why

In English, interrogative sentences mentioned in grammar mention ways of asking different questions.


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHowWhy
UsageUsed when the procedure is asked.Used when the purpose is asked
InterjectionIt can be used as an exclamation.It cannot be used as an interjection.
ExclamationIt can be used as an exclamationIt cannot be used as an exclamation.
Other usagesIt cannot be used in the acceptance of suggestions.It can be used in accepting suggestions.
ExpressionIt can be used to greet.That is not such a polite word.


What is “How”?

“How” is an interrogative word used when the person asks about the ‘way’ or ‘manner’. “How” is an adverb.

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When “how” is used in a sentence, it refers to the question of the procedure, the manner or the way of occurrence.

For example, a person asks ‘how to be a chef?’Then the person asks about the procedure to become a chef.

Some more examples

  1. How to cook?
  2. How did you reduce weight?
  3. How did you make these cookies?
  4. How to be a makeup artist?

“How” is used when a question is asked, and grammatically every interrogative sentence ends with a “question mark”.

“How” is also used as an exclamation as well, in such sentences end with an exclamation mark instead of a question mark; for example:-

  1. How beautiful!
  2. How melodious he sings!
  3. How cute these kittens are!
  4. How nice of him!

“How” is used politely to greet people in general terms, for example:

  1. How are you?
  2. How are you doing?
  3. How do you do?

“How” is used as a conventional term as well, wherein attention is sought, or the opinion is asked, for example:

  1. How about you?
  2. How about making this more colourful?
  3. How about going to the same place?

“How” is used in phrases as well, for example:

  1. How so?
  2. Here’s how!
  3. How now?
  4. How much?

What is “Why”?

“Why” is an interrogative word used in questions where the person asks about the reason for a particular incident or something else.

“Why” is an adverb used in a question; it is also used as a reference to a reason; for example, this is why she did not return.

“Why” is used in an interrogative form, for example:-

  1. Why didn’t you come?
  2. Why is she upset?
  3. Why did you do that?
  4. Why were you absent?

Why can be used in sentences giving reasons, for example :

  1.  That is why I wouldn’t say I like her much.
  2. This is the reason why I don’t go out.
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Why can be used as expressing annoyance, for example:

  1. Stop doing that.
  2. Why should I?
  3. Where are you going?
  4. Why should I tell you?

Why is also used in sentences making suggestions, for example:

  1. Why don’t we try that brown shade of this lipstick?
  2. Why don’t you go out and chill?

Why is also used in sentences in agreeing with the suggestions, for example:

  1. Will you come to the party with us?
  2. Yeah, sure, why not? I would love to join you, people.
  3. Can you help me in the kitchen?
  4. Why not? Tell me what I can do.

“Why” is used in phrases as well, for example :

  1. Why so?
  2. For why?
  3. Why me?
  4. Why you?

Main Differences Between “How” and “Why”

  1. “How” is used when the procedure of occurrence is asked; on the other hand “, why” is used when the purpose of any occurrence is asked.
  2. “How” can be used as an interjection, but “why” cannot be used as an interjection.
  3. “How” can be used as an exclamation. On the other hand, “why” cannot be used as an exclamation.
  4. “Why” is used in sentences where suggestions are accepted, but “how” is not used that way.
  5. “How” can be used in sentences where people are being greeted politely, but “why” is not used in such sentences.
Difference Between How and Why

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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10 thoughts on “How vs Why: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I love the in-depth analysis. Understanding the differences between ‘how’ and ‘why’ is essential for proper communication.

  2. I respectfully disagree with some points mentioned in this article. Personally, I think the usage of ‘how’ and ‘why’ can vary depending on context.

  3. I’ve learned something new today. It’s amazing how much thought goes into the usage of everyday words like ‘how’ and ‘why’.

  4. This was a very informative read. I gained a deeper understanding of how to use ‘how’ and ‘why’ appropriately in sentences.

  5. Fascinating analysis! It’s interesting to see how the usage of ‘how’ and ‘why’ can differ based on grammatical rules.

  6. I found this article to be educational. I believe that understanding how and why questions are asked can lead to better communication.

  7. This article presents a compelling case for understanding the nuances of language. It certainly made me reflect on my own usage of ‘how’ and ‘why’.


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