Structures with why

This structure is used to suggest something for other people’s consideration and acceptance. It is a more direct way of making a suggestion.

  • Why not buy now and pay later?
  • Why not suspend that guy?
  • Why not punish that boy?
  • Why not hire a more competent person?
  • Why not ask him?
  • Why not consult a specialist?
  • Why not throw a party in his honour?
  • Why not buy a new car?
  • Why not change jobs?
  • Why not file a police complaint against him?

Note that in this structure we cannot use a pronoun after why not?

  • Why not get that car serviced? (NOT Why not we get that car serviced?)

The same idea can be expressed using the structure ‘why don’t we?’

  • Why don’t you suspend that guy?
  • Why don’t you hire a more competent person?
  • Why don’t you ask him?
  • Why don’t you consult a specialist?
  • Why don’t you buy a new car?
  • Why don’t you find another job?
  • Why don’t you start dieting?
  • Why don’t we make another attempt?
  • Why don’t we ask him?

Why in replies

In short replies to negative statements, we usually use ‘Why not?’ In replies to affirmative statements, we usually use ‘Why?’

  • ‘She has decided to call off her wedding to Peter.’ ‘Why?’
  • ‘She isn’t coming with us?’ ‘Why not?’
  • ‘We can’t depend on him.’ ‘Why not?’

The structure ‘Why should’ can be used to suggest surprise or anger.

  • I don’t understand why she should hate me.
  • I don’t see why I should pay for your drinks.