Do not get Caught up in Asking Why — 7 Comments

  1. Laughed at that poem. That guy anonymous is really smart. He’s written so much. Or maybe there is more than one anonymous? Anonymi?

  2. This post is funny, and wise at the same time. Actually, in learning about life and behavior, it is also much better to ask “What?” instead of “Why?” It’s unproductive to ask, “Why doesn’t he love me?” and better to ask, “What do I want to do about it?” Or instead of asking someone why they did something, better to ask what were they hoping to accomplish. Wonderful post!

  3. On the other hand, an etymological explanation to a “Why?” gives your brain new connections (a story even, if you’re lucky) that help you store the meaning of the word or phrase in your long-term memory. I’m always interested in the origin of words, and studying kanji provides a lot of hints for that – which in turn helps me remember details about the individual kanji.

  4. When I ask myself ‘why’ I’m not looking for an answer to any of the 5 ‘why’ examples mentioned.
    I am usually just looking for the set of rules or grammatical explanation of ‘how’ it is supposed to be used.

    “Oh, thats like that because you always use a X with Y in that situation.”

    Thats all I need. I don’t care about nitty gritty ‘why’, I do feel there is a difference.

  5. Particularly for grammar, asking ‘why’ has really helped me to remember *how* it works. Imabi is great for this. An extensive explanation about a grammar point, its etymological significance and a bunch of other less important tangents all revolving around that grammar point help you to remember *the grammar point itself*, while most of the other stuff fades away; like the scaffolding on a house.

    Tae Kim doesn’t work for me precisely because his explanations tend to be far shallower than I can handle. I have to read it multiple times to even understand what he’s trying to get at, and I’ve recently discovered that some of his information is (and continues to be) flat-out incorrect.

    Learning ‘why’ is more time-consuming — but actually it isn’t, because you don’t have to re-learn grammar points when you forget them because there isn’t enough scaffolding to latch onto — but it really helps.

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