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Why put health food in a perfectly good bag of candy?

  • Its an infinitive "put". Could you be more clear about what you are asking? – James K Apr 16 '19 at 7:49
  • @JamesK, I was taught an English sentence have to have an subject. What is the subject of this sentence? – Zhang Apr 16 '19 at 8:02
  • @JamesK, and a question would always be like "Why be, Why do..." – Zhang Apr 16 '19 at 8:04
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If you read the sentence like:

Why does / would somebody put health food in a perfectly good bag of candy?

you will understand that there is a subject (somebody), but it was omitted. Maybe it is not the most correct way to write / say it, but it is quite usual and accepted.

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Why put health food in a perfectly good bag of candy?

"Why" is not the subject. Open interrogatives like this have the form of a bare infinitival where no subject is permitted.

"Why put" is not a single constituent, but two. The verb is just "put" and "why" is an interrogative adverb serving as an adjunct. Although it is located at the start of the clause, it's actually a modifier in the structure of the clause.

Semantically, it conveys that I don't think there is any valid reason, and this leads to an interpretation as an indirect directive: I suggest that they not put health food in a perfectly good bag of candy.

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