I'm just a little bit confused today. If I were to ask a question, would it be "Why is art a culture?" or "Why art is a culture?". Is there a difference? I'm thinking the correct one is the former but I'm not sure if you can put "a" after the subject?

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    If you are asking a question, it's got to be "Why is art .........?" – Centaurus Mar 30 '20 at 14:41
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    The first is a question, the second (part of) an assertion. – Hot Licks Mar 30 '20 at 14:52
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    I think this is separate from your actual question, but as a side-note: "culture" when being used to refer to things like art and music is usually an uncountable noun, which means you don't use "a" or "the" with it ("Why is art culture?"). When someone says "a culture" it is usually interpreted as the biology term for cultivating a colony or growth of organisms ("a culture of bacteria"), etc, or as a particular set of beliefs/practices held by a specific group of people ("that tribe has a culture which is different from most"). – Foogod Mar 30 '20 at 17:10

To put it simply, the second one is not a question. It is a statement or proposition. It could be the title of an essay that argues that "art" is a "culture" (not sure the concepts fit together, but nevertheless). The form is similar to many argument summaries: "Why movies are a form of art" or "Why painting is like theater."

Think of these sentences:

"Why are you going to the store?"

"I am going to explain why I am going to the store"

"Why I am going to the store is my business, not yours."

Only the first one is a question, although all three use "Why."

  • "art" is a "culture"? Art is certainly an aspect of culture, but not a culture. – rhetorician Mar 30 '20 at 22:39
  • The question was clearly about the syntax, and not the semantics. I don't think it's necessarily semantically incorrect, either. ('Art' might refer to 'the practice of art', or 'the world of art', obliquely, and not necessarily just 'the collection of art works'. Compare to something like "anime is a whole culture") – BadZen Aug 30 '20 at 23:20

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