Let me put these verbs in the following sentences

  1. Why did the Mahabharata happen ?
  2. Why did the Mahabharata come about ?

Google doesn's show any results with 'come about' with reference to the above usage.

Could you please explain which on is correct and why ?


1 Answer 1


Neither of these is quite satisfactory. Both happen and come about may be used with events, and come about may be used with states, but neither is ordinarily used with works of literature or of another art.

okWhy did World War I happen? How did it happen that WW I started?
okHow did it come about that Germany was defeated? How did peace come about?


∗ Why did the Mahabharata happen? How did the Mahabharata come about?

So what you have to do to use these is recast your sentence to include an event:

How did it {happen / come about} that the Mahabharata was written down?

marks an utterance as unacceptable

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