Here are the two sentences.

"That's the reason why she spoke"
"That's the reason she did so."

Which one sounds natural to native speakers?

Thank you very much!

  • 1
    It depends on the context and what was said immediately before it. Normally i find 'noun did so' less common overall though Jul 10, 2014 at 12:26
  • Both are entirely different. The former one talks about why did she speak like that and the second one talks about why did she do anything. The question would have been better with the second sentence being ... That's the reason she spoke so...
    – Maulik V
    Jul 10, 2014 at 12:52
  • 2
    @Maulik, EyeOfTheHawks: I would say it makes no significant difference whether why is present in either of OP's examples, which are therefore both fine. Jul 10, 2014 at 13:08
  • @FumbleFingers both are fine on their own way. I was concerned about deciding upon only one thing - did she speak in both the cases or did she do something. Let her do one thing and talk it in different ways to understand the question better. I'm not concerned about the rest of the sentence structure but was peculiar about whether she spoke or did something! :)
    – Maulik V
    Jul 11, 2014 at 4:44
  • @Maulik: Yeah, I understand the distinction you're making. I'm just saying the presence or absence of why in either of the examples makes no difference to their meanings. In the second example, so (which could always be replaced by it, that, etc.) refers to some unspecified preceding action (whether she spoke, sneezed, committed suicide, or whatever is unknowable without context). FWIW, I personally don't really think they're both "fine" - I won't say including both the reason and why is "wrong", but I think it's at the very least "clumsy". Jul 11, 2014 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


This issue was covered on ELU long ago. There is a school of thought which claims there's something inherently "wrong" with conjoining reason and why in this way, but in practice most native speakers are either unaware or don't care about such pedantry.

I can't think of any specific context where you can't omit why after reason used as a noun meaning cause. Nor do I think it ever makes any significant difference to the meaning - it's just a stylistic choice.

Because of the "pedantic" position linked to above, you might want to avoid using the reason why yourself (it's never necessary). But don't assume just because someone else does use it, their English is "poor" (though I would say it's more a spoken than a careful formal written usage).

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