I was correcting an ESL learner who said "It is the way how we write."

I realize "It is the way we write" is correct and "It is how we write" is correct, but "It is the way how we write" looks wrong to me, despite that when I say it out loud it sounds perfectly normal if I'm speaking fast. What I mean is, if an ESL learner said it, it would sound wrong. But when I say it as a native speaker, it seems okay though not felicitous. So I can't tell.

Is it grammatically wrong?

  • 8
    It is incorrect because individually, both the way and how can be directly replaced by, for example, the fashion in which. But if you repeat that replacement, It is the fashion in which the fashion in which we write creates gibberish, not emphasis. – FumbleFingers Jan 22 '13 at 18:04
  • 1
    You're at odds with the answer below. How do I know who's right?? – temporary_user_name Jan 22 '13 at 19:26
  • Obviously I think I'm right! But I don't know how to convince you - other than to point out that currently my comment has three upvotes, whereas MetaEd's answer has only one. – FumbleFingers Jan 22 '13 at 19:29
  • 1
    You could look at some actual usage statistics. That's how|the way I would approach it. – FumbleFingers Jan 22 '13 at 19:32
  • 3
    "The way how" is not currently accepted as idiomatic because, as FumbleFingers says, "the way" = "how" = "the fashion in which" = "the manner in which": the phrase "the way how" is irredeemably redundant. "The reason why", structurally similar and equally redundant, is an accepted idiom despite (or maybe because of) its idiocy. It has been given the amazing grace of the English gods. – user21497 Jan 22 '13 at 23:15

It’s not grammatically wrong, just unconventional. Most people would use the connecting word that:

It is the way that we write.

You could also see:

It is the way in which we write.

You can, for example, compare the relative frequency of these phrases in print using Google Ngram Viewer. The chart below compares “is the way how”, “is the way that”, and “is the way in which”. It appears from the chart that “is the way how” is virtually never seen in print. The other two are seen regularly, but for the past 200 years “is the way in which” has been more popular.

Click on the chart to interact with it. You can, for example, separate the results for British and American English.

| improve this answer | |

'The way' and 'how' are not used together. It is how we write. Or It is the way we write.

"The way how" is redundant as well as unconventional.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.