• Why Something Instead of Nothing?

  • Why Something New?

  • Why Dog in the Wind?

  • why thing in the back of my throat?
  • Why everything on zero?

I looked up "Why" in my dictionary, but I could not figure out how it was used. Please let me know usage of"why"

  • 1
    Your questions are not clear. None of the phases you give are sentences: they do not contain verbs. You need to explain exactly what you are asking and to give the context. May 5, 2017 at 11:26
  • The sentences are not grammatically correct, but why here seems to mean exactly what it normally means: "What is the reason for ____ ?"
    – stangdon
    May 5, 2017 at 11:55
  • @ stangdon Oh thank you. If so, is the following sentence also grammatically wrong? "why the word up in call up a friend?"
    – Lami
    May 5, 2017 at 12:06
  • @Lami - That sentence is also not correct because it does not contain a verb. I think it should be "Why is the word..." or "Why do we say the word..."
    – stangdon
    May 5, 2017 at 12:12
  • @stangdon- Thank you very much. I was confused with this sentence in the introduction text of "Richard Spears-Essential Phrasal Verbs Dictionary", but now the question has been solved.
    – Lami
    May 5, 2017 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


The "sentences" you quote are so much part of everyday English, that they could be considered idiomatic.

However parts of them, including the main verb (often "is/are*) have been elided. Hence the argument that they cannot be sentences, "because they do not contain a verb".

Why (have you bought) something new?

Why (is) everything on zero?

In Why the fuss?, the elision is not as straightforward. What is being said is Why (is there) a fuss (being made)? But the article has changed from indefinite to definite.

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