I saw "Why and for what reasons […]" here and it seems to be present in other places.

Is it pure redundancy, or does the asker expect an anwer in two parts ("why" and "for what reasons")?

If it is redundant, why would someone use this expression instead of just "why"? Is it just showiness?

2 Answers 2


It's called pleonasm.

"Let me tell you this, when social workers offer you, free, gratis and for nothing, something to hinder you from swooning, which with them is an obsession, it is useless to recoil ..."

—Samuel Beckett, Molloy.

Sometimes figures of speech like this one are used to achieve some particular effect, in this case it's just an idiom being used by imitation, or habit.

  • 1
    Glad you found the word for it, I couldn't think of it. Sep 9, 2011 at 7:27

It's a more forceful "Why", and a request for specific (logical) reasons.

Redundancy adds emphasis in some phrases, and essentially that is what is being done.

I've heard this phrase before, but rarely. Usually from a figure of authority in a sense of "You did something wrong, now explain yourself".

  • I suppose it also suggests that why is being used to ask for a deliberate reason (Why did you eat the ice-cream?), rather than explaining the history or mechanism that caused an outcome (Why did the ice-cream melt?). Sep 9, 2011 at 11:08

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