Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Can I say "How so sure?" to question the validity of a claim. For example:

A) They will lose.

B) How so sure?

Is it grammatical? If yes then is it common and natural?

share|improve this question
4  
I think it's more natural for B to say, "Are you sure?", "Why are you so sure?", "Why do you feel so sure?", or "How can you be so sure?" –  Damkerng T. May 28 at 19:30
1  
or perhaps: how come you are so sure? –  Nico May 28 at 19:51
    
Thank you both so much :) –  GATA May 28 at 20:03
1  
I think "How so sure?" is either a very limited-currency non-standard version of "Why [are you] so sure?", or more likely just an inappropriate form which is more likely to occur to non-native speakers (who it seems to me often conflate how and why). Another "idiomatically normal" response in OP's context might be "You're sure? How's that?" (i.e. - "How does that come about?"). –  FumbleFingers May 28 at 20:54
2  
The most common phrase I hear is "What makes you so sure?". –  Darthfett May 28 at 21:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Why so sure?" is the form of the question that you're looking for - it is a common structure.

*"How so sure?" is incorrect (though obviously both "How sure?" and "How (come) are you so sure?" are OK - though their meanings are different).

Unless of course you want to know something still else - "How sure are you?" - meaning, are you very sure, or just a little bit sure? (an oxymoron, since certainty would seem to be a binary concept, and yet we can be "sure" and "very sure"...)

share|improve this answer
1  
@GATA Actually, I've been wondering that myself... Better yet, "Why sure?" would also be wrong in this meaning. I'll ask over at English.SE - unless you would like to? –  Alicja Z May 28 at 20:17
1  
@GATA Ok, posted here... Though from what you've written here so far, it looks like your English is pretty good :) –  Alicja Z May 28 at 21:03
2  
@GATA: "Why so sure?" is a common idiom, despite not being formally correct. "How so sure?" is not. There's no good reason, that's just the way it is. –  keshlam May 28 at 21:15
1  
@GATA Since you were the co-author of the question on English.SE in a way, does Jon's answer there satisfy you? –  Alicja Z May 28 at 22:42
1  
How sure? means how sure are you?, not how are you sure? –  Esoteric Screen Name May 29 at 1:58

You don't really have a verb in that sentence. You would probably say "How are you so sure?"

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.