What is the meaning of these sentences? What is the difference between them?

Why did you have to name me after stew?
Why did you name me after stew?

  • Probably you were named after stew because your parents didn’t want to make a decision on an empty stomach. – tchrist Apr 16 '13 at 23:00
  • @tchrist I have to admit, I'm now curious what the name in question is. – WendiKidd Apr 16 '13 at 23:21
  • @WendiKidd Stuart Little. – tchrist Apr 16 '13 at 23:25

Without have to, the question is just that: a question, seeking an answer.

Why did you name me after stew? Burgoo is a very odd name! Where did it come from?

Adding have to implies that the question is 'rhetorical', and its intent is to protest:

Why did you have to name me after stew? I hate that name! and I hate burgoo, too! You could at least have named me after something I like, like bouillabaisse.

  • 3
    Had I travelled into the future to find out what kind of foods you would grow to like, young man, I certainly could have... Not that I would when you take an attitude like that! ;) +1 – WendiKidd Apr 16 '13 at 22:09
  • @WendiKidd I still think it's very odd of you to have named your son Burgoo. What kind of Foxfire hippie are you, anyway? – StoneyB on hiatus Apr 16 '13 at 22:15
  • Oi! What's wrong with Foxfire Kits? Oh. Hippies. You said hippies. – Kit Z. Fox Apr 16 '13 at 22:38

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