KudoZ home » English » General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters

How come? vs. How comes?

English translation: how come

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
01:31 Nov 1, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / Conversation
English term or phrase: How come? vs. How comes?
Both are used, one more than the other; but, grammatically speaking, which is the correct one?
TIA
Mónica Ameztoy de Andrada
Local time: 07:01
English translation:how come
Explanation:
'How comes' gets 300,000k google hits for 3 million of "how come." And many of the hits for "how comes" are British related, so perhaps there's a connection there. But I'm certain that "how come" is the more grammatical, standard option.
Selected response from:

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 08:01
Grading comment
THANK YOU VERY MUCH :)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
5 +15how come
Mark Berelekhis
4 +4how come (Standard English) vs. how comes (stigmatized)
Michael Powers (PhD)


Discussion entries: 7





  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +15
how come? vs. how comes?
how come


Explanation:
'How comes' gets 300,000k google hits for 3 million of "how come." And many of the hits for "how comes" are British related, so perhaps there's a connection there. But I'm certain that "how come" is the more grammatical, standard option.

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 08:01
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 34
Grading comment
THANK YOU VERY MUCH :)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  R-i-c-h-a-r-d
46 mins
  -> Thank you, Richard.

agree  Patricia Townshend
2 hrs
  -> Thank you, Patricia.

agree  Darya Kozak
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, Danissimo.

agree  Lorraine Lamont: indeed!
4 hrs
  -> Thank you, Lorraine.

agree  Jack Doughty: In UK English I would say "How come" is more common, and "How comes" is only used with "it" added, e.g. How comes it that I am bothering to write this explanation?
5 hrs
  -> Thank you, Jack. This is new to me, but it's interesting.

agree  kmtext
7 hrs
  -> Thank you, kmtext.

agree  Carol Gullidge: "how comes" simply isn't idiomatic!, and google counts can be extremely misleading. If you search for a mis-spelling, it'll invariably come up, whichever way you mis-spell it!
7 hrs
  -> Thank you, Carol. Yes, I agree, though I was still surprised to see as many as 300k.

agree  Dylan Edwards: "How come?" - either as a question in itself, or with further words after it - is the version I use, and the only version I know.
7 hrs
  -> Thank you, Dylan.

agree  Armorel Young: How come? - I agree entirely with Dylan
7 hrs
  -> Thank you, Armorel.

agree  Valery Kaminski
8 hrs
  -> Thank you, Valery.

agree  Will Matter: "How come" is correct English.
11 hrs
  -> Thank you, willmatter. No argument there.

agree  Michael Powers (PhD): As I also stated, this is the correct way to say it. The other form is often used by uneducated people, probably due to analogy. - Mike :)
11 hrs
  -> Thank you, Mike. I found your explanation interesting as well.

agree  V_N: Something like "anyway" and "anyways" - both are used but "anyway" is the correct one
17 hrs
  -> Thank you, V. Good point.

agree  ARTES
1 day1 hr
  -> Thank you, ARTES.

agree  John Alphonse: Never heard it spoken with the "s" except incorrectly, in U.S. English. Well, I do make an exception for rap culture slang.
4 days
  -> Thank you, John.
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
how come? vs. how comes?
how come (Standard English) vs. how comes (stigmatized)


Explanation:
As Mark correctly stated, the standard form is "how come"

"how comes" is a stigmatized form that many scholars believe is a shortening of, How comes it?

Following is a good wesite reference of expressions that sound to educated native speakers like a fingernail scratching the blackboard:


Pain in the English
"How comes you doesn't call?" I'm not sure about the "comes" in that .... Online Etymology Dictionary · Using Modern Language Association (MLA) Format ...
www.painintheenglish.com/index.php?pointer=40&cat=1&search= - 33k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Note the website: paiinintheenglish.com

Great name for a website.

Mike :)

Michael Powers (PhD)
United States
Local time: 08:01
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 83

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  R-i-c-h-a-r-d: right on Mike! Good explo.
35 mins
  -> Thank you, Richard - Mike :)

agree  Will Matter: Learn something new everyday, especially around here. You've "enlightened" me, thanks. Changing to 'agree'.
11 hrs
  -> Will, I looked at your profile. Very impressive. Polyglot, English teacher. I am a sociolinguist - trilingual. Different perspectives. Sociolinguistically, "stigmatized" is non-standard, "grammatically incorrect." // Thank you, Will - Mike :)

agree  V_N: i love the remarks :)
16 hrs
  -> Thank you, V. - Mike :)

agree  Bernhard Sulzer: how come is a standard phrase but it is not necessarily always acceptable English (more a colloquialism); how comes - if it's not short for how comes it - is definitely slang and grammatically wrong. / Thanks! ;-)
19 hrs
  -> Thank you, Bernhard - I believe its actual use is more a class issue and even then is somewhat limite, probably due to other social constraints. No doubt it is not grammatical. - Mike :)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


Changes made by editors
Jan 21, 2008 - Changes made by Mark Berelekhis:
FieldOther » Art/Literary


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search