How can "How do you play tennis often?" be rephrased:

  1. "In what way do you often play tennis?"
  2. "How do you manage to play tennis (so) often?"
  3. "How come you play tennis often?"
  4. "How is it (possible) that you play tennis often?"

What is the likeliest interpretation?

  • 2
    Your version #3 is likely to be interpreted different to the others (I'd say its default meaning is What is it that causes / motivates you to play tennis often?). #1 just isn't idiomatic anyway. Personally, I'd ask How can you play so often?, but note that in some contexts that might be interpreted as being reproachful (as in He just left me standing outside in the rain. How could he?). So maybe How are you able to play so often? or How is it [that] you are able to play so often?. Nov 21, 2021 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


Arguably, "How do you play tennis often?" technically means what you want to say, but it's very awkward and would likely be interpreted as you asking "How often do you play tennis?" incorrectly. Just asking "so" before "often" would do a lot to reduce this misinterpretation. Adding "manage to" helps even more. "How come", however, is used in English to mean "why" (I presume it evolved from "how did it come to be").

"In what way" means "what's the manner" and isn't a good phrase if you want to focus on the means that someone uses to increase the frequency of their tennis. "How" can mean manner or means, and the difference is hard to explain. Means are what you do that accomplish a goal, while manner is different ways of doing it. "I use a racquet with nylon strings" is manner. "I put a tennis court in my backyard" is a means.

"How is it possible" has slightly different emphasis, and depending on the context could be interpreted as rhetorical. It's more asking for an explanation, rather than asking for things one did to help accomplish it.

  • Why can't "How do you play tennis often?" be interpreted as "How do you often play tennis?"
    – Ruralguy
    Nov 21, 2021 at 20:51
  • 2
    Because it isn't idiomatic English. Nov 22, 2021 at 8:38

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