New Orleans, <from which/whence/where/from whence> goods could be put on ocean-going vessels.

< Previous | Next >

jiamajia

Senior Member
Mandarin
The easiest way to ship produce was to use a flatboat to float it down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the port of New Orleans, ——————goods could be put on ocean-going vessels.

A. from which
B. whence
C. where
D. from whence


The given choice is B. Can C and D be correct as well?

Thank you.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    As an American English speaker, I'm allowed to use "whence" only once in my lifetime -- I did and it was in jest.

    I would only say "where" here.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I suppose a pompous person in 1700 might say whence not too infrequently. You might still encounter odd pompous persons today who use whence.

    Today, you might also encounter people who say that from whence is illogical because whence means 'from where', and therefore from whence means 'from from where', which nobody should ever say. However, this phrase has been in use in the past, for example in the King James Bible:

    I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help (Psalm 121:1)
    So, yes, C or D could be correct as well.
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    Hi. I would have said "from where" but I see that's not an option. As others have said "whence" already gives the idea of "from", so D is wrong. If you want to use "whence" it's possible in formal written language but I'd avoid it in speech. Some people will think you're trying to be pompous and show that you know this infrequent word and how to use it.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Like Copyright, I prefer "where" here.

    That's not because I don't use "whence" (I do, occasionally).

    But I'm slightly uncomfortable with the idea that goods could be put on ocean-going vessels from the port of New Orleans, which is what answers A, B, and D all imply.

    I'd be much more likely to say that goods could be put on ocean-going vessels in (or at) the port of New Orleans. So I would use "where" as a relative, rather than any of the other options:).
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I agree with Loob in that there is no "from" in the meaning. It needs a word that means "in that place" not "from that place" therefore I would say only C is possible.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Like Copyright, I prefer "where" here.
    But I'm slightly uncomfortable with the idea that goods could be put on ocean-going vessels from the port of New Orleans, which is what answers A, B, and D all imply.
    Indeed: "from where" and "whence" only fit if the verb is changed:

    ... the port of New Orleans, whence (or from where) goods could be put sent (or exported. or shipped) on ocean-going vessels ...
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    It's clear that the "answer key" is wrong! However, you had better use "where" if this shows up on an exam in the course using your text or exercise book.

    The American Heritage Dictionary usage note on "whence" says:

    "Historically, whence contains the sense of from. Therefore the construction from whence, although it can be found in the works of good writers [including, apparently, King James's Bible translation commission], is often held to be redundant. Examples such as Tell us the place from whence he came are unacceptable to a large majority of the Usage Panel. As an adverb, whence is regarded by many as most appropriate to a formal or literary style, though as a conjunction it is still in general use."

    The "Usage Panel" is a group of well-respected writers and linguists constituted specifically for this dictionary which voted on disputed usages.

    In defense of the King James's Bible committee, the early 17th century was long enough ago that even "historical" usage could have shifted.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top