I've seen questions framed in the following manner many a time:

"Why the sun shines?"
"Why hair grows?"

While the most correct way to frame these kind of questions is obviously:

"Why does the sun shine?"
"Why does hair grow?"

I was wondering if the former two sentences are grammatically sound. They are not something I would personally say, and it doesn't sound right to me (I've always thought they're wrong); but is it wrong to frame questions in that manner?

  • Maybe those questions are not from people whose native language isn't English. Here in my country (Philippines, if you're interested to know), my teachers, except of course my English teachers, often make mistakes like that. They are definitely wrong grammatically. But since those teachers' majors are not English, then they really are not much concerned with their grammar.
    – user51428
    Commented Sep 8, 2013 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


Clauses beginning with Why are often used as headings to articles that answer the implied question, but the use of a question mark in such cases is inappropriate and misleading.


My niece says to me, 'Why does the sun shine?'

My niece asks me why the sun shines.

In the former sentence, I am quoting the direct speech of my niece. And that speech is a question. So, that's ending in a question mark and the helping verb (does) there is preceded by the subject (the sun).

The 2nd sentence, whereas, is the indirect speech of my niece. I am quoting it. I am not posing a question. I am simply narrating what she asks. So, that's ending in a full-stop and not the question mark. And there is no need to place the helping verb before the subject. In fact, doing that would make it ungrammatical.

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