Why are you asking this? (For questions I am a bit confused of)

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Senior Member
Chinese Mandarin
I was working. Suddenly a colleague came to me and asked: Do you pass Walmart on your way home? I said: yes. He then paused. I had no idea why he asked this question, so I wanted to add: Why are you asking this?

I am wondering if it's appropriate to say so. We often come across situations when someone ask us something unexpectedly which make us feel a bit confused. So I have been thinking what to say here. What about: What's the matter? (This is a translation from my Chinese; we often reply with this in these situations) Thank you.
  • vincix

    Senior Member
    "What's the matter?" doesn't work here. You usually ask this if you feel that something wrong is going on with someone else. A simple conversation, you could simply ask "Why?"

    "Why are you asking this?" could seem a little bit too much, not that it's wrong or anything. But it might express worry, etc.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Why are you asking?" is perfect, (no 'this'). "What's the matter?" isn't suitable because it means "What's wrong?"
    "Why do you want to know?" is another possibility, but it can sound aggressive, even if you don't feel angry.
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