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Are the question words, such as when, where, who, why and how, adverbs? If they are, can anyone explain why they are defined as adverbs?

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    I’m voting to close this question because the OP asked an identical question on ELL.
    – BillJ
    Mar 9 at 9:11
  • I don't think this question should be closed, for two reasons: 1. This question is a better match for EL&U than for ELL. It is a tricky question about which there is some controversy. 2. The questions of which the present one is supposed to be a duplicate have answers that are not supported by providing reputable sources. Mar 9 at 18:47
  • @linguisticturn This would take us into the lumping/splitting debate, and I'm sure this has already been covered as regards the wh-words. Some POS-tagging schemes regard them as so far distant in distribution and purpose from trad adverbs that they aren't even medium-close relatives. Others lump by choosing different definitions. // 'What lexical category are the wh-question-words?' is obviously the same question; one answer quotes Swan. Answer there rather than re-open. Mar 9 at 19:39
  • @EdwinAshworth The question you just mentioned is closed as a duplicate, so I can't answer there. The question of which it is supposed to be a duplicate, Is “when” an adverb in this usage?, is about when only. The only answer that includes a reputable source there is the one by Greg Lee, in which he hints at, but does not provide, an answer for the other question words. Mar 9 at 20:16

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