Difference Between How Come and Why (With Table)

People communicate by asking a series of questions and answering the same. These questions are asked in the form of wh formed word questions. There are many words in the English dictionary that come at starting of a sentence to put up a question. Two such words are ‘how come’ and ‘why’.

How Come vs Why

The difference between ‘how come’ and ‘why’ is that the word how come is used in a sentence when a procedure regarding how something happened or occurred is asked by a person to another, and at the same time, the word is used in a sentence to know the purpose of why something happened or occurred.

The word ‘how come’ is used in a sentence when someone wants to know the process of how some circumstance had taken place in a sentence. This word is used as an interrogative form in a sentence. This word states the manner of a situation that came into existence for a person.

The word ‘why’ is used in a sentence to know the reason why something occurred to someone or something at a particular time by a person. This word is used can also be used as an adverb in a sentence showing reference to something or someone. But this word is commonly used only in its Interrogative form.

Comparison Table Between How Come and Why

Parameters of ComparisonHow ComeWhy
MeaningThe word ‘how come’ is used in a sentence to know the process of how something happened.The word ‘why’ is used in a sentence to know the purpose of something that happened.
UsageThe word ‘How come’ can only be used in an Interrogative way.The word ‘why’ can be used as an interrogative word as well as an adverb.
InversionInversion of the subject and the verb of a sentence does not occur when the word ‘how come’ is used.Inversion of subject and verb does occur when the word ‘why’ is used in a Sentence.
Type of communicationThe word ‘how come’ is often used in an informal type of communication.The word ‘why’ is commonly used informal communication.
UseThe word ‘how come’ cannot be used in accenting or making suggestions.The word ‘why’ can be used in accepting or making suggestions.

What is How Come?

The word ‘how come’ is used in a sentence when someone wants to know the process of how some circumstance had taken place in a sentence. This word is used as an interrogative form in a sentence. This word states the manner of a situation that came into existence for a person. There is always a comma after the word ‘How come’ in the sentence.

This word is usually observed to be used in informal communication most often. There is no need to inverting the subject and the verb in a sentence where the word ‘how come’ is used. This word is often used when there is a sentence of doubt to be put on for the opposite person. A sentence having this word will always result as an interrogative sentence only.

Following are some examples where the word ‘How Come’ used in a sentence-

  1. How come you are late today?
  2. How come they didn’t attend the party yesterday?
  3. How come she left the part that day?
  4. How come you were at the same place where the incident took place that day?

What is Why?

The word ‘why’ is used in a sentence to know the reason why something occurred to someone or something at a particular time by a person. This word is used can also be used as an adverb in a sentence showing reference to something or someone. But this word is commonly used only in its Interrogative form.

This word may also be used in a sentence to express a feeling of arrogance or annoyance to someone in particular circumstances. Sometimes, this word is also used for making suggestions or agreeing with same to someone else’s suggestions in a sentence. When a sentence starts with the word ‘Why’ it always ends with a question mark.

Following are some examples where the word ‘Why’ is used in a sentence-

  1. Why can’t you sit down quietly?
  2. Why can’t we take this route while travelling?
  3. Why is there so much fog ahead?
  4. Why is this class so boring?
  5. This is why I hate her.

Main Differences Between How Come and Why

  1. The word ‘how come’ is used in a sentence to know the process of how something happened, and on the other hand, the word ‘why’ is used in a sentence to know the purpose of something that happened.
  2. The word ‘How come’ can only be used in an Interrogative way, and on the other hand, the word ‘why’ can be used as an interrogative word as well as an adverb.
  3. Inversion of the subject and the verb of a sentence does not take place when the word ‘how come’ is used in a sentence, and on the other hand, inversion of subject and verb does take place when the word ‘why’ is used in a Sentence.
  4. The word ‘how come’ is often used in an informal type of communication, and on the other hand, the word ‘why’ is commonly used informal communication.
  5. The word ‘how come’ cannot be used in accenting or making suggestions, and on the other hand, the word ‘why’ can be used in accepting or making suggestions.

Conclusion

The words’ how come and ‘why’ are both used in an interrogative form. Although they sound similar, they do have their differences in how they are supposed to be used in a sentence and in what manner they are supposed to be used according to the context in which they are present.

One should know the difference between these two words to know how they should be used in sentences. If these words are replaced with each other in a sentence by a person, then the meaning of the sentence would change, which may lead to some Miscommunications among people.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01621459.1955.10501299
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ444312

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