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I had always heard people saying like (never seen written anywhere but just heard it):

How come you come to office on Sunday?
How come is this possible?

It doesn't seem right to me when people say this but is this valid in English or valid just for speaking?

Can anybody shed some light on this?

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recently i heard jimm carrey saying this my mother tounge is not english so may be my feeling of this "how come" could be wrong –  munish Oct 28 '11 at 6:35
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"How come this is possible", not "How come is this possible". "How come" is like "why" or "how", except that the order doesn't need to be reversed: "it is possible" -> "how come it is possible", but "how is it possible". –  ShreevatsaR Oct 28 '11 at 6:48

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

How come is a perfectly valid English construction meaning why.

The Online Etymology Dictionary records its use from 1848. It may be a little less formal, but it isn't invalid in any way.

How come you come to the office on Sundays? is grammatically correct.

"How come is this possible?" mixes up the word order, though - "How come this is possible?" would be better.

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It is a normal part of spoken English, and even of some, mostly informal, writing. The OED’s earliest citation, in the sense, To come about, happen, turn out is from 1548:

How commeth this, that there are so many Newe Testamentes abrode?

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That usage is rather different, though. In that example, how commeth this means "how did this occur* and not "why did this occur". –  onomatomaniak Oct 28 '11 at 10:06
    
You may well be right, but I don't think we can be sure without knowing the context. I wouldn't dispute that the meaning of the construction will have changed, or been expanded, over the centuries. –  Barrie England Oct 28 '11 at 13:09

I'd suggest it's a contraction of "how does it come to be."

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