Whether an instance of "why" is a noun or an adverb
In this sentence written by Samuel Clemens, I am really uncertain whether the "why" acts as a noun or as an adverb. "Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral?" (His answer is "It is because we are not the person involved.")
I'm using the short Essential English Grammar (Dover) as my basic guide. After rooting through it, I am tempted to call Clemens's "why" a noun, a reflection on the other side of "is" of the "it."
I wouldn't be asking unless someone disagreed with me and was working hard to show me my error. If I'm wrong, no problem. I'd just like to a have a reasoned explanation from an expert or two.
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