Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 23:23:42 -0500 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: well and why At 10:55 PM 11/21/97 -0500, you wrote: >I had a lot of trouble getting my students to focus on the meaning >differences between WELL and WHY in these environments. Though they >understood the differences, they kept saying, "But nobody under age 50 would >ever use WHY in that way--only old people talk that way!" This was not the >answer I expected. Has anybody else had this reaction from students about WHY >in this usage? What are the reactions of y'all? Is there a change in progress >here? > Well, I am near 40, grew up in southern Michigan, have lived in New York City for 15+ years, have a certain amt. of education, and would consider "well" in the usages you cited almost like breathing. But "why" in that slot sounds to me like "Driving Miss Daisy," and I would never say it in a million years without trying to sound like an old codger or a character from a western or something like that. My 90-y.o. grandmothers would maybe say it. My mother (age 60) hasn't ever used it, if memory serves.... So if you want a collection of subjective usage-senses, there's one for you to add??? All best, Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]