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I'm eager to know whether there is any fixed expression in English to refuse answering the WH-question "why" when you are reluctant or somehow have some reasons that prevents you from answering.

I have heard the following sentences from non-native speakers from different countries. (Some of them used to teach English for a long time.)

......., but why?
a. Because the sky is high!
b. Because elephant can't fly!
c. Because I like apple pie!

Note: please consider the rythmic manner of each case compared to "why".

It is obvious that they are sort of humorous or even perhaps childish ways of replying to the question "why?".

In addition to that, if you google each case above, you'll immediately find out that there is no reliable source for them on the internet. Also, it is visible that a large proportion of the results seem to relate to the Arab world, Kurdistan or Turkey, Iran and Russia and some countries in Eastern Europe. That was why I decided to make sure whether they are widespread in English, or they are improvisations of other languages.

I have always used "just because" in this case prior to this. However I would appreciate if you do me a favor and make me aware in this case.

PS. I need AmE equivalents if they do not work in American English.

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  • Why ["Y"] is a crooked letter. Or, "Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies." Dec 16 '20 at 0:00
  • Which tupe of English are you speaking for @DrMoishePippik? May I ask you to provide me with any supporting link for your comment?
    – A-friend
    Dec 16 '20 at 1:05
  • Colloquial US. And no, I've no references, but you could search the web for those. Dec 16 '20 at 2:43
  • Well, what about my own offers @DrMoishe Puppik? Do they all work naturaly and idiomatically in AE?
    – A-friend
    Dec 16 '20 at 2:54
  • Not familiar to me, but they might in another dialect. Dec 16 '20 at 2:55
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There is no such idiom in English. This phrases come out from the "Funny Boy: A Novel in Six Stories" by Shyam Selvadurai.

Sonali asked Amma why and she responded:

Because the sky is so high and pigs can’t fly.

There is also a Canadian drama film, directed by Deepa Mehta, Funny Boy. The phrase is cited there, too.

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The answers you cite are fairly common. What they are essentially doing is stating something obvious and matter of fact. They are metaphors for saying, "There's no reason why, that's just the way it is."

Answering, "just because..." is also common and acceptable.

Saying something like, "Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies," is a more direct way of avoiding answering the question. It means, "Even if I told you why I wouldn't be giving you a good reason, so there's no point in asking me."

Some other options include asking another question that can be answered by saying, "That's just the way it is," or "The explanation is too complicated to get into right now."

Why is the pope catholic?
Why does the wind blow?
Why do birds sing in the morning?

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