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In this chat on github I found:

A. I made some changes. Please review.

B. Awesome, thanks!

A. Why yes, of course

What A means in his last sentence?

In general, is "why yes" a stronger "yes"?

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  • Note that for this use of why as an interjection there would normally be a comma directly after why (as in deadrat's examples below).
    – nnnnnn
    Sep 22, 2021 at 16:55

3 Answers 3

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Why here is an interjection, placed at the beginning of a sentence to express surprise:

Is it nine o'clock already? Why, I must have fallen asleep!

or opposition:

Are you suggesting he stole the money? Why, I think that's impossible.

or in you example, emphasis:

B. Awesome, thanks!
A. Why [would you think it would be any less than awesome?], yes of course.

or perhaps

A. Why [would I even need to be thanked for something I'm happy to do], yes, of course.

Don't take the bracketed words as a literal ellipsis. The why is there to express a general emphatic tone.

The OED finds the interjectory use of why going back five hundred years.

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I speak Persian. And in Persian, we use the word why by itself as a synonym for yes in some situations, usually for emphasis. As the answer above suggested, it probably is the shortened form of "why not?" in both languages.

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  • Welcome to ELU. It's interesting to learn that this form exists in Persian. This would be a more interesting and useful post for this site, however, if you could provide etymological source material to back up your theory about "why yes" might be a shortened form of "why not" in English. We try to provide information about English usage, rather than opinion. (I'd actually disagree that "why yes" is a shortened form of "why not" in English. It could, in a pinch, be a variant). Your observation about Persian is different and interesting, because you are, as a speaker, a source yourself. May 31, 2020 at 13:45
  • You are correct that it was just an observation. But I was not trying to suggest "why not?" was a replacement for "why, yes", rather that it was a replacement for why alone- as in "why not? Yes, of course". However, you are absolutely right about providing a source. But I think the phrasing of the comment above mine basically suggests the same idea as "why not?"
    – Piruz
    May 31, 2020 at 17:40
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The statement above, "Why yes, of course," seems practically redundant. "Why yes" seems to me (yes, I know, no sources) to mean "why would I have it any other way" or "why would I want to do otherwise." And that seems very close to the meaning of "of course" in the sentence -- the etymology of which I do not know but would suspect to mean "of the course I would expect" or "of the natural or defined or common course." So the meanings of the two phrases seem very close.

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