I've been asked to explain the use of best in the phrase "humans have found how best to live together" other than saying its an adverb I'm stumped, could someone wiser help me out.

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    What do you find troublesome about saying it's an adverb? That's what it is. Are you saying you need more explanation of why it's an adverb? On the other hand, I would say a case can be made for calling it an adjective in one sense, because "how best" really means "the best way," and of course in this version "best" is obviously an adjective. – John M. Landsberg Jun 24 '13 at 5:55
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    There are similar-looking constructions where the 'how' is (1) an interrogative secondary modifier of an adjective: How tall is he? / Have you seen how tall he is! and (2) part of a compound quantifier: I saw how many chips you ate! But, leaving the adverb best out of the given sentence: "humans have found/discovered how to live together" shows that best, in this case, is not syntactically obligatory - contrast tall; many. It is an optional adverb and could be replaced by the adverbial phrase 'in the best possible way' (which would have to be shunted to the end of the sentence, however). – Edwin Ashworth Jun 24 '13 at 6:35

Change the affirmative phrase to make a simple question.

How well do humans live together? (correct)

How good do humans live together? (incorrect)

In your sentence:

Humans have found how best to live together"

"how best" = best is the superlative form of the adverb, well.

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