A debate came up in my band class, and I'm wondering what your stance might be on it. Do you think the title "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is grammatically correct? The main issue was about starting the title with "How" when it isn't a question.
It is not grammatically incorrect–at least not in the way some of your classmates think.
“How” is an adverb, and it can absolutely be used as an interrogative. But it primarily means “in what way,” so you can use it in a statement or proclamation. For example, the sentence, “This is how I prefer to eat Oreos” uses the word ‘how’ as part of an adverb clause which pre-modifies the infinitive verb ‘to eat.’ Basically, “how I prefer” acts as a single clause or phrase that is putting some descriptive conditions on the verb ‘to eat.’
It’s interesting to note that the title ‘how the grinch stole christmas’ is not a complete sentence, but a clause. And the unspoken noun it’s modifying? The book (or movie) itself!
Titles are rarely complete sentences. When they are clauses like this one, they’re descriptions of the contents they’re titling, be it a book, movie, instruction manual, etc. Ergo, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a title implying that ‘contained herein is an explanation of how the grinch stole christmas.’
So while the phrase is not a complete sentence and would not be one you would let stand alone normally, it is perfectly acceptable as a descriptive title.