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could you please explain to my children (using precise english grammar rule references) why it is wrong to use the expession "for why" (eg I will tell you for why). This has started to appear all over television and eminates from the US but causes the hair on the back of my neck to stand up every tme I hear it.
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Anonymouscould you please explain to my children (using precise english grammar rule references) why it is wrong to use the expession "for why" (eg I will tell you for why). This has started to appear all over television and eminates from the US but causes the hair on the back of my neck to stand up every tme I hear it.
Forwhy \For*why"\, conj. [For + why] Wherefore; because.

Forwhy as one word and "for why" as two words have been here for a very long time. I can give you sundry byspels from Chaucer and others.

1. (a) In a question: for what reason, for what cause, why; (b) as noun: the reason why.

Forwhy? Yif thou enforcest thee to assemble money, thow must byreven him his money that hath it. - Chaucer

no explanation forwhy the country mouse opened his home to the town mouse is forthcoming... - "Making mention of Aesop: Henryson's fable of the two mice.", 2008

2. In (a) an object clause or (b) a subject clause: for what reason, why.

Noot I for-why ne how That jalousie..Thus causeles is cropen into yow. - Chaucer

"The BBC must also account forwhy it spends much more money per hour than its commercial rivals on breakfast and drive time shows," he said. - "BBC under fire over high pay for presenters", 2009

3. In a relative clause: on account of which.

I ne finde no3t atte frume Þat þing for whi ihc am hider icume. - Floriz and Blauncheflur

4. In a clause which explains, amplifies, cites an example, quotes an authority, etc.: inasmuch as, since, for.

That ye to him of hard now been ywonne Oughte he be glad..Forwhi men seith, "impressiounes light Ful lightly been ay redy to the flight." - Chaucer

5. In a clause giving the reason or cause: for the reason that, because.

Certeinly namore harde grace May sitte on me, forwhy ther is no space. - Chaucer

6. In a clause of result, consequence, or inference (often loosely joined to a preceding statement): for which reason, wherefore; therefore.

Me nedeth here noon other art to use; Forwhi to every lovere I me excuse, ... - Chaucer

7. In a clause of purpose: in order that, so that.

In hyr hand A braunche newe, Forwhy that no man sholde her lette. - Le Morte Arthur

8. forwhy and, forwhy that, on condition that, provided that, if.

Thou shalt haue yiftis good, For-whyþat thou wilte dwelle with me. - Le Morte Arthur

Although it is rarely used by adults, "for why" is a logical construction for children. Since the expressions "from where" means "from what place", and "for who" means "for what person", logically, the expression "for why" means "for what reason". There is no rule against it. As another post attests, Shakespeare and Mark Twain used the expression.
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If you've heard it on American TV, it source may be that it has come in from the Yiddish (as much US TV slang does.) Old-non-native English speaking people who have Yiddish as their first language will often put the word 'for' before questions such as why. It has almost become a catchphrase when spinning an old yarn in some Jewish circles to say a sentence such as 'and I'll tell you for why.'
In Germanic languages including early modern English, there will often be for before a question.
You have warum (why) in German and warwas (why) in Yiddish. In old English you have for-where (again meaning why) (in Shakespeare and Chaucer) etc. with the list being quite long.
Modern English has dropped this prefix and so of course it is grammatically incorrect in modern English.
Hope this helps.

The expression 'for why' as in 'I'll tell you for why' is an English expression, a colloquialism common in the north of England (Midlands region). In my experience it's used as an assertion in a discussion or argument.

My proof:

1. My family are from Derbyshire, and I grew up in the 1970s with this expression being used.

2. Any of the BBC comedies from the 1970s, especially Eric Morecambe of Morecambe and Wise. He was from Lancashire in the north of England.

anonymousDerbyshire

That doesn't seem to be in the United States, does it?

So there, original poster! Take that, you racist!

And learn how to spell "emanate" while you're at it.

Emotion: big smile

CJ

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