Please tell me the difference between these two questions:

  • how
  • how so

Do those two mean the same thing?

If they do not, please explain with examples.

closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, TrevorD, p.s.w.g, Matt E. Эллен, Brian Hooper Aug 5 '13 at 12:16

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  • 2
    What is the context? There is no way to answer the question the way it stands now, because we do not know what you mean by ‘how (so)’; they can both mean many things given different contexts. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 4 '13 at 12:16

The difference is that How so? is more of an answer than a question and can only be used as a response to another person. It can't be used as part of a wider question, whereas How is extremely versatile:

How are you / How many stars in the sky / How do you make butter from milk etc

Both phrases can be used as an answer to a statement. How? is a straightforward request for information:

How (are you going to do that/go there/meet him)?

However, answering How so? implies a slight measure of disbelief or disagreement:

"You'll never get abroad next year, you haven't saved enough money"
"I'm going to get there anyway, you'll see."
"How so?"

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