4

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. – snailboat Jul 5 '14 at 10:51
  • *Simply ignore, though, is ungrammatical ― ignore needs a direct object: Simply ignore him. – snailboat 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
5

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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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