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For example, in the situation "How does a affect b?" I've come up with "In what way does a affect b?" and "What aspects of a make it affect b?" (although that has a slightly different connotation). Can anyone think of any more?

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closed as not a real question by FumbleFingers, Mitch, kiamlaluno, Daniel, simchona Dec 20 '11 at 3:50

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Hi Marilla, welcome to ELU. To get a clear unambiguoous answer, you need to give more context in your question. As @Mahnax's answer indicates, there are several possible interpretations of your sentence - the correct "another way of saying" depends on which meaning you want. Unless you edit the question to give that information it may get closed as "not a real question". –  FumbleFingers Dec 19 '11 at 16:02

3 Answers 3

  • How does ...?
  • By what method does ...?
  • By virtue of what does ...?
  • By what means ...?
  • In what regard ...?
  • In what sense ...?
  • By what reasoning ...?
  • Whereby does ...?
  • In what manner does ...?
  • In what way does ...?
  • Which mechanism does a use to affect b?
  • ...
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A short list:

  • By what means does A affect B?
  • In what regard does A affect B?
  • In what sense does A affect B?
  • By what reasoning does A affect B?
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1  
May I suggest you make this a community wiki? –  slim Dec 19 '11 at 15:43
    
@slim For what purpose? –  Mahnax Dec 19 '11 at 15:44
    
so that your list may be extended, rather than us having a bunch of somewhat overlapping lists. –  slim Dec 19 '11 at 15:48
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If (as with Stack Overflow) the aim is to achieve a correct answer that the OP can accept, then yes. See meta.english.stackexchange.com/a/1187/3626 –  slim Dec 19 '11 at 15:53
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It's true that many answers on EL&U are not marked as community wiki when they should be. But they should be, and so should yours. –  tenfour Dec 19 '11 at 16:14

How is the wastebasket interrogative.

It can refer to practically any concept that can link one idea to another.

  • How ... ??? (to represent complete bewilderment)
  • How are you?
  • How can this possibly cause that?
  • How does the thingummy fit on the sprocket?

This is one reason why it is the extensible one -- when we want an adjectival or adverbial interrogative phrase, we add how.

  • How big is it?
  • How easily did he do it?

By itself, it can represent almost any adverbial phrase, and the examples given in the other answers are all adverbial phrases made into interrogatives by pied-piping. There are lots more.

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Perhaps catch-all, all-purpose, or multipurpose would serve better than wastebasket? If you mean like throwaway or of little note, perhaps so, but if you mean worthless, certainly not. –  jwpat7 Dec 19 '11 at 17:35
    
None of them, exactly. A "wastebasket category" is one in which you put all the things that don't fit elsewhere. Like the category adverb itself, in fact. –  John Lawler Dec 19 '11 at 18:09

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