Could someone please explain how and why people say 'why' for example if someone asks or says something and other person answer: "Why yes." ??

  • 1
    OED have this in their definition IV 7a for why - Used interjectionally, before a sentence or clause. As an expression of surprise (sometimes only momentary or slight; sometimes involving protest), either in reply to a remark or question, or on perceiving something unexpected. First recorded 1520, so I don't think we'll be able to relate this to more common current usages for the word. As an interjection expressing surprise,it's actually something of a dated affectation today, and probably best avoided. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 27 '14 at 21:35

'Why, yes' seems to be an idiomatic expression, used to add emphasis to a response. The exclamation 'why' can also be used at the beginning of other sentences to express surprise, lack of patience, anger, etc.

This might help: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1449759 http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/why_2

| improve this answer | |

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.