Check out these sentences:

He does indecent gestures at me ~ But why look at him? Simply ignore him.
I cannot concentrate on my studies ~ Why think of her?
He scolded me unnecessarily ~ But why talk in between? Keep mum.

In those all answers, no infinitive markers are used i.e. "Why to look"; "Why to think", and so on.

Is it okay to omit IMs while talking that way? Furthermore, if it's okay talking, is it okay writing as well?

  • 1
    In case you might forget (I think we've discussed this once), the word to in a to-infinitive is not a preposition. – Damkerng T. Jul 5 '14 at 10:07
  • @DamkerngT. Yes, I goofed up! though I don't remember our conversation, if any :( – Maulik V Jul 5 '14 at 10:10
  • I don't think to is "omitted" because adding it in would be strange. But as rewobs explains, you're right that these are bare infinitival interrogatives. – snailplane Jul 5 '14 at 10:51
  • *Simply ignore, though, is ungrammatical ― ignore needs a direct object: Simply ignore him. – snailplane Jul 5 '14 at 10:52
  • @snailplane I see. I thought it works intransitively as well. OALD has no such classification mentioned. – Maulik V Jul 5 '14 at 10:55

Yes, it's right in both senses. The bare infinitive is used in many cases including this form. ("Why+ bare infinitive...?")

They can be used as a part of suggestions rather than real questions and an answer isn't necessarily expected.

A clear example:

"Why sell these tools? They might be useful in the future"

That way it would sound less direct than other forms like:

"Why are you selling these tools?"

  • 1
    +1 for They can be used as a part of suggestions.. that's what I thought as well. My examples are evidences of that. – Maulik V Jul 5 '14 at 9:51

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