When I read about the two famous grammar books - The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, I happened to across a very interesting sentence below.

What are you doing in there? (source)

The questioner wanted to know what part of speech is there,adverb or noun? Which is it?

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    Before you get too bogged down in adverbs, I recommend this question on ELU. As McCawley says, it's a 'wastebasket' category - where you put everything that doesn't fit anywhere else. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 9 '13 at 14:22
  • @StoneyB, Thank you. When I first heard the category from prof. Lawler, it was very strange. Now I get some understanding. – Listenever Jun 10 '13 at 0:35
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    @Listenever "Adverb" was a wastebasket category in traditional grammar. In modern grammar "adverb" is usually better defined, with "particle" taking over the wastebasket role. – snailplane Nov 30 '13 at 5:46

There in that sentence is adverb. It can be an exclamation as in "There, there, you must take all of this philosophically." but it is never a noun.

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    I might be convinced if the question were about "there" in "What are you doing there?". But isn't the question about "What are you doing in there?" – Damkerng T. Nov 29 '13 at 15:02

The sentence ”What are you doing in there?” includes a preposition in. All prepositions have an object, which must be a noun. If in is a preposition, then there must be the object and a noun.

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    I agree with you that that "in" is a preposition, though I would rather say that that "there" is a pronoun rather than a noun. – Damkerng T. Nov 29 '13 at 15:03

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