Where = here

When = now

What = this

How = thus

Why = (this is why)??

With the above, you could answer a question with the word on the left with just the single word on the right as an answer without additional information when the context is implicit, or can be provided with non-verbal cues such as pointing or demonstrating.

Is there a single word answer to the question "why?" to describe this reason or this is why when the context is implicit? Both therefore and because are inadequate as they require additional information.

  • 3
    How I have most often heard why questions answered with a single word is: because, without additional information.
    – GMB
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:07
  • @GMB Does it really answer a question?
    – Archa
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:08
  • 6
    No, it doesn't - but neither does "thus" answer "how?" Your "when" and "where" examples offer a single-word value that answers the question. All of the others require additional information. If you have a single-word reason, then it will answer "why?"
    – bye
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:15
  • 1
    @bye Turn your above comment into an answer. It is the answer to this question, and even points out the error in the question itself. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:19
  • 1
    I wonder if behind this question somewhere there's a parent or teacher with a habit of insisting that "because" is not a complete sentence (or some such attempt at disguising as grammar a problem that is actually behavioral). The fact remains that "here" is no more (or less) complete an answer than "because"; any difference between them is physical, not linguistic.
    – JPmiaou
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 19:30

5 Answers 5


A seldom used alternative to because and therefore, is wherefore.

If you want good examples, read the works of Shakespeare.

  • 1
    Indeed, it seems that this is the best fit (it has nothing to do with our current use of "where", see dictionary.reference.com/browse/wherefore ). Even though it is equivalent to "therefore", "therefore" as @Bye pointed out is used mostly used in an "it follows that" manner, whereas "wherefore" could be used as a single word if the reason is clear from current action or context.
    – AndyHasIt
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 11:28

Actually, because is very often used.

Yes, it requires more information, but so does thus! If I ask how you did something and you answer me: "thus," I will know as much as when I ask you why and you tell me: "because."

Another word you could use is hence, meaning as a consequence, for this reason. It is used in the inverse way of because:

We bought ice cream because it was warm and we needed to cool down.
It was warm and we needed to cool down; hence, we bought ice cream.

It may appear a bit archaic or formal though. Personally I would prefer it as the one-word reply to why, rather than because. But I am weird in that.

  • I like "hence", though it suffers the same association to "it follows that" as therefore does (as highlighted by @bye). I suppose "because" suffers from association with the childish use of not providing a reason...
    – AndyHasIt
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 19:23

How I have most often heard why questions answered with a single word is: because, without additional information. It may not answer a question in terms of an explanation, but if only one word is to be used, a more commonly used one may not be available. And, common use is at least some of the time based on collective common sense. Especially for why questions that aren't strictly answerable in the first place, because is a response to the question, even if it does prompt a further inquiry.


"Why" is asking about the reason of something happened . so , if you want to show the reason of this "something" you can't reply with only one word . i mean you must explain it . and if you don't want to show the reason i think "causeless" fits your needs .


I think that you can't answer such a question with a single word. It requires additional information, an explanation.

­If not, does anyone know if other languages perhaps do have a single word for this?

Not me.

  • 2
    Thanks for the answer, but that logic would also apply to a "how" question which you could answer with "thus". "thus" when used as a single word needs to be accompanied by some additional information, typically non-verbal.
    – AndyHasIt
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:00
  • 2
    @AndyHasIt - you can also say "because" and point. There is an archaic use of therefore (which answers wherefore), but therefore has semantically drifted to meaning something more like "it follows that" (sequitur) than the original "because".
    – bye
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:08
  • 1
    @bye or you can say "Because" and not point. Parents of three-year-olds are driven to this shift daily. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 18:11
  • 1
    Of course you can answer a question that way. If the answer isn't is a good one is not necessary.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 0:21

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