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Demanding Explanations

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Sometimes, things happen that we would like explained and we must demand explanations. For example, if you have just bought a new computer and there is a problem, but the shop assistant says that the guaranty does not cover the problem. There are a number of formulas used when demanding explanations in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • Can you tell me why...
  • I don't understand why...
  • Can you explain why..
  • Why is it that...
  • How come...
  • Does this mean...
  • Do you really expect me to believe...

After you study these constructions, take the demanding explanations quiz to check your understanding.

More English Functions

Disagreeing
Contrasting Ideas
Making Complaints
Asking for Information
Giving Advice
Guessing
Being Imprecise or Vague
Saying 'No' Nicely
Showing Preferences
Making Suggestions
Offering Help
Giving Warning
Demanding Explanations

Construction

Can you tell me why it has taken you so long to respond? Use 'Can you tell me why' a full clause. An indirect question requires '?'.
I don't understand why it has taken you so long to respond. Use 'I don't understand why' + a full clause. This is a statement and does NOT require a question mark (?)
Can you explain why it has taken you so long to respond? Use 'Can you explain why' + a full clause. An indirect question requires a '?'.
Why is it that it has taken you so long to respond? Use 'Why is it that' + a full clause. An indirect question requires a '?'.
How come it has taken you so long to respond? Use 'How come' + a full clause. An indirect question requires a '?'.
Does this mean (that) it has taken you so long to respond? Use 'Does this mean (that)' + a full clause. An indirect question requires a '?'.
Do you expect me to belive you weren't able to finish on time? Use 'Do you (really) expect me to belive (that)' + a full clause. An indirect question requires a '?'.
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