Where / From where

Tyrion Lann

Senior Member
INDIA -Hindi
Source:- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.



The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in.

Can I say "from where the knife and..." instead of the original sentence by Mr. Gaiman.

Thanks.
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I'm not sure why you would want to do that. A door can't be open from a place. It can only be open.

    The word "where" does not mean that it was open "at a certain place". There is only one way in which a door can be open. It means that because a man had pried it open with a knife and slipped in, it was open.
     
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    bennymix

    Senior Member
    'from' turns up in front of 'where' sometimes. It would be wrong in your examples, as Barque said. Often it's unnecessary, wordy, but here's a passable example:

    "A noise reached my ears; from where I don't know." Note the older wording is "from whence".
     

    Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    The street door was still open, just a little, from where ( the space made by the ajar door ) the knife and the man who held it had slipped in.

    Write says "the man slipped in the house through the space made by the ajar street door". So I thought "from where" might be used.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Write says "the man slipped in the house through the space made by the ajar street door". So I thought "from where" might be used.
    I'm still not able to follow your reasoning. Are you perhaps saying the door, in the process of opening, had moved away from where it originally was, against the jamb/doorpost? That's not how it's expressed.
     

    Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    I'm just saying that the door was open, just a little, from where the man slipped in. The door didn't move anywhere it just rotate around its axis/ hinges.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in, and wisps of night-time mist slithered and twined into the house through the open door.
    The full sentence is as above. It’s pretty awful. I don’t even know what he means by “where”. It implies the door was only open at the place where he inserted the knife, but that makes no sense. And it’s not even clear whether the second clause (after “and“) is meant as a separate statement or refers back to “where”. The repeated mention of “the open door” – rather than just saying “it”, since the main subject of the sentence is the door – is perplexing.

    Adding from (in the sense of “as a result of”) is not out of the question, but for it to read properly you’d have to rewrite the whole thing.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in.
    I see it as not requiring (or able to have) "from":
    The street door, where (= which was the place that)1 the knife that had slipped in and the man who held it had also slipped in, was still open, just a little.

    where the knife had slipped in and the man who held it had also slipped in, is a non-defining relative clause.

    1 I think that, in its original position,"where" is being asked to carry too much meaning here, and I agree with
    Adding from (in the sense of “as a result of”) is not out of the question, but for it to read properly you’d have to rewrite the whole thing.
     
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    Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    I think I got the point;
    In thr Original case : the man who held the knife had slipped into the house through the street door and it's still open, a little.


    And when I use "from";
    The front door was left open that whole night, just a little, from where ( as a result of it) the man who held the knife had slipped in (into the house).

    Am I right ?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No. From (= as a result of) works in situations such as:

    The child was sick from eating far too much chocolate
    The woman was tired from being on her feet all day
    The door was still ajar from having been forced open with a knife
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    No. Whence means "from where", so "from whence" is "from from where".
    Um... No, It's merely redundant. Seems I'm in good company.

    Is it Wrong to Say 'From Whence'? | Merriam-Webster

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/is-from-whence-wrong


    Does that mean that saying "from whence" is wrong? ... Shakespeare, Henry VI, part 2, 1592 … Sittingbourne, from whence we had a famous pair of horses …
    ---------------------------


    The Word 'Whence' is Pretty Much Always Used Incorrectly

    www.todayifoundout.com/.../the-word-whence-is-pretty-much-always-used-incorrectl...


    Jun 1, 2010 - There are numerous examples of the “from whence” usage in works by Shakespeare, Defoe, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and even several in the King James Bible.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think he's using poetic license and personifying the knife. The door was not pried open with the knife. The door was simply unlocked. The man with the knife opened the door, slipped inside and did not fully re-close the door, through inattention to detail, most likely. Once inside, his attention was on other matters.

    Saying the "knife slipped in" is simply a literary way of adding drama, giving the knife, as an element of danger, a malevolent place of its own in the story.

    The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in(side).

    In more prosaic terms, he is saying a knife-wielding person has gained entry to the house and, to be specific, his place of entry was through the outside door, which, as evidence of unusual events happening, had been left open just a bit, which was not normal. But he reverses it and first mentions the unusual state of the door, and tells you the unusual state is a result of a knife-wielding intruder entering there. The intruder is in the house. Where did he get into the house? Through that door (not through a window or anywhere else). What did he bring with him? A knife.
     
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    pachanga7

    Senior Member
    English - US
    And when I use "from";
    The front door was left open that whole night, just a little, from where ( as a result of it) the man who held the knife had slipped in (into the house).
    If anything, the door could remain ajar “from when” the man with the knife came in. If you say “from where” it points the mind towards a more specific location than is given, and it doesn’t make sense.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That’s the second time “pried open” has been used in this thread, so I looked it up (having previously assumed the first one was a typo :oops: ). For the benefit of any other baffled BE-speakers out there, it seems that in American English pry means the same as what in the UK would be prise.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    That’s the second time “pried open” has been used in this thread, so I looked it up (having previously assumed the first one was a typo :oops: ). For the benefit of any other baffled BE-speakers out there, it seems that in American English pry means the same as what in the UK would be prise.
    Yes, you British folks seems to love the ambiguities of 'prise' and 'prize'. Nobody here ever says praɪz unless they won one and can't spell too good.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    And I don't think it was prised or pried. I think it is simply a creative way of saying a man brought a knife with him when he surreptitiously entered the house. (See my #15.)

    "Where" refers to the specific spot on the perimeter of the house that was the point of entry. "From where" would not make sense because that is not an origin that was traveled from, it is simply a specific spot.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I think he's using poetic license and personifying the knife. The door was not pried open with the knife. The door was simply unlocked. The man with the knife opened the door, slipped inside and did not fully re-close the door, through inattention to detail, most likely. Once inside, his attention was on other matters.

    Saying the "knife slipped in" is simply a literary way of adding drama, giving the knife, as an element of danger, a malevolent place of its own in the story.

    The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it had slipped in(side).

    In more prosaic terms, he is saying a knife-wielding person has gained entry to the house and, to be specific, his place of entry was through the outside door, which, as evidence of unusual events happening, had been left open just a bit, which was not normal. But he reverses it and first mentions the unusual state of the door, and tells you the unusual state is a result of a knife-wielding intruder entering there. The intruder is in the house. Where did he get into the house? Through that door (not through a window or anywhere else). What did he bring with him? A knife.
    This is a most excellent explanation. The writer is dramatizing just as you explained. Tinkering with 'where' is silly.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    And I don't think it was prised or pried. I think it is simply a creative way of saying a man brought a knife with him when he surreptitiously entered the house. (See my #15.)

    "Where" refers to the specific spot on the perimeter of the house that was the point of entry. "From where" would not make sense because that is not an origin that was traveled from, it is simply a specific spot.
    Again, agreed. It's a fanciful idea that the knife was used that way.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree too that that’s probably what the author meant. Doesn’t mean I think much of his writing though – as I said in #8, where I quoted the whole sentence.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "From where" could be something like:

    All the lights were on in the building across the street, from where the intruder had come to sneak into the house.
     
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