A previous question (What part of speech is 'why' ?) asked what function 'why' was playing when it is used with a verb.

But 'why' can be used without a verb.

Why the sad face ?

So what is it doing when it is all on its own ?

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    "Why do you have the sad face?" is understood. The verb is missing because the phrase can easily be understood without it. This is an ellipsis - very common in idiomatic, spoken English. – Dan Nov 7 '18 at 12:11
  • So the missing words are an ellipsis, but what part of speech is the 'why' ? – Nigel J Nov 7 '18 at 18:40
  • 1
    Looks like 'why' is an interrogative adverb - ef.com/english-resources/english-grammar/interrogative-adverbs - if that helps at all – Dan Nov 7 '18 at 23:26

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