Do we say Why not show or showing him ?

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Squide

Member
French - Arabic
Here's the sentence :


Why not show him ?

or

Why not showing him ?

The two sounds right, which one is grammatically correct and why ?


Many thanks.
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'Showing' is not a finite verb. Every sentence needs a finite verb. Showing is a participle and it needs another verb to make it into a tense.
    -Why aren't you showing him?
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Show" in "Why not show him?" is not a finite verb; it's a bare infinitive. Consider the parallel sentence "Why not be helpful?"

    "Why not showing him?" is ungrammatical because an infinitive is called for.
     

    Phil-Olly

    Senior Member
    Scotland, English
    The correct form would also depend on the context.

    "Why not show him?" is a suggestion, like, "It would be a good idea to show him."
    "Why aren't you showing him?" is a direct question, expecting an answer like, "Because my phone's broken."
     

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    There are certainly cases in which "why not show him?" would be interpreted as a question, not a suggestion:

    A: I'm going to describe to him in detail the picture I took with my phone yesterday.
    B: Why not just show it to him?
    A: Because my phone's broken.
     

    Squide

    Member
    French - Arabic
    Is there a general rule for this ? or is it just an exception because of 'Why not' in the sentence ?
     
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