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In Spanish, "how not" can mean "of course". I'm not sure whether one can translate literally that expression. Is the following correct English?

When I went to the spa I chatted with Ann for a while, and then, how not, I took a bath.

My intent in the example sentence is to express that "taking a bath" is an obvious or predictable action to perform, given the described situation.

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Consider English Language Learners for such questions. –  coleopterist Mar 11 '13 at 5:02
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Thanks for the heads up, I never realised there was that SE site. –  vemv Mar 11 '13 at 14:55
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closed as off topic by Kris, Kristina Lopez, kiamlaluno, Mitch, KitFox Mar 12 '13 at 14:27

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4 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

“How not” is ungrammatical when used as in your example. Either of “how could I not” or “how could it not be” might replace it, but the word naturally (“In a natural manner”) is a more-natural English-language replacement, as is also the phrase “of course” that you mention: “When I went to the spa I chatted with Ann for a while, and then, naturally, I bathed in the spa.”

The adverbial expression why not might be used for the intended purpose; “...and then, why not, I took a bath” means I had no reason not to take a bath and felt I might as well do so.

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If you say, "I went to the spa, chatted with Ann, and then took a bath," you describe a sequence of events. Adding "naturally" emphasizes the motivation for the bath, and now it's ambiguous whether it's because you went to the spa or specifically because you chatted with Ann (implying she makes you feel dirty, or aroused enough to take a cold bath, or because she always suggests you take a bath...) –  Ben Jackson Mar 11 '13 at 6:28
    
@BenJackson, because of that ambiguity, I wrote “I bathed in the spa” instead of “I took a bath”, to at least hint that the reason for being at the spa was a bath, as opposed to the bath being a consequence of chatting with Ann. –  jwpat7 Mar 11 '13 at 6:32
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A direct, idiomatic equivalent of “how not” in English is what else. It would be perfectly understandable to write:

When I went to the spa I chatted with Ann for a while, and then, what else, I took a bath.

For more examples in print, Google Book Search.

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"Como no" is best translated as "why not," even though it literally means "how not."

Would you please pass the salt? Si, como no. Sure, why not.

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The expression as a matter of course would stand where you have inserted the (inappropriate) translation from the Spanish. As your question implies, it is commonly contracted to of course.

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