whence vs where

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porland

New Member
English-Chinese
I read an article about lime pie, and here is this sentence "the Florida Keys, from whence come the tiny limes that gave the pie its name."
I just wonder can this "whence" be replaced by "where"? or what's the different usage of these two words?
besides, does this word be refered to frequently in spoken or written English?
Thanks a lot !!!
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Proper use in American English is the same as Teddy says (post #2). The word is very often misused as the quoted writer has done, probably because it's so close to "where" in appearance that people assume "from" is needed.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Although I agree that "from whence" is redundant, it does appear in the King James version (17th Century) of the Christian Bible in Psalm 121:

    I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We discuss whence occasionally. Did you look at these threads, Porland? You find them by putting whence into the thread-title search at the top of this page.

    Directional adverbs in Middle English (whence, whither)
    Is whence still in use?
    New Orleans, <from which/whence/where/from whence> goods could be put on ocean-going vessels.
    otherwhither, whence, wherefore, hither and thither
    whence- in dictionary definitions

    The second one, Is whence still in use?, is particularly interesting and relevant, and considers the from-whence issue in some detail.
     
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