In the sentence:

My philosophy professor demonstrated not only how to reason persuasively but also how to avoid logical fallacies.

What part of speech is the word how?

  • What part of speech in what sense? Do you want to know which meaning of the word "how" is being used here? Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 17:12
  • In How are you? how is an interrogative pronoun. In She explained how to complete the form, how is a relative pronoun. How is no different in this respect to who, which, and where. At least that's my understanding from when I last studied these things at school about 60 years ago! I doubt it has changed since.
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 17:16
  • @WS2 What is the relative clause in your example? I can't see a noun that is being modified.
    – BillJ
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 17:35
  • @BillJ Relative clause - to complete the form, I think!
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 17:53
  • 1
    One response on ELU calls it a subordinating conjunction. But a full discussion is given here A relative adverb or a conjunction or both? english.stackexchange.com/questions/162576/…
    – Hugh
    Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


Both the hows there are adverbs that premodify the respective to-infinitive clauses. The first how premodifies to reason persuasively, and the second to avoid logical fallacies.

The fact that both how to reason persuasively and how to avoid logical fallacies are complements of the verb demonstrated doesn't change the part of speech of how at all, because how itself is not a complement of the verb. Only those clauses are.


It is Adverb and the mood is interrogative

  • 3
    Welcome to English.SE! Could you perhaps elaborate a little on this answer? Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 18:15

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