The Depth of WHERE
Something not to be taken too seriously.
1. The Omnipresent is not bound in space (both time and place dimensions), but Man is.
2. Time is not conquered by man (yet?).
3. Man is pushing back the frontiers of Place (e.g. exploration of the Universe).
4. But Place is: FROM dust we come, TO dust we shall return.
5. The word WHERE is one of the most mysterious: it can be "at", or "in", or "FROM", or "TO".
6. For the latter two, it depends on the VERB used with WHERE.
Consider "WHERE" in the following.
(A) FROM explicit, TO impossible.
1. Where do you COME FROM? (Pronoun)
or: From where do you come?
2. Where do you come? (Ungrammatical)
3. Where do you come to? (Impossible)
(Correct is: What do you come to?)
(B) FROM implicit, TO impossible.
1. Where did you GET this watch? (Adverb of place)
2. From where did you get this watch? (Ungrammatical)
3. Where did you get this watch to? (Impossible)
(Where do you get to? Different: "Get" here means "go")
(C) TO implicit, FROM impossible.
1. Where did you GO? (Adverb of place)
2. Where did you go to? (Ungrammatical)
3. From where did you go? (Impossible)
(D) TO implicit, FROM explicit
1. Where does this LEAD? (Adverb of place)
2. Where does this lead to? (Ungrammatical)
3. From where does this lead? (Pronoun)
4. Where did you TAKE my watch? (Adverb of place)
5. Where did you take my watch to? (Ungrammatical)
6. From where did you take my watch? (Pronoun)
7. Where are you TAKING us? (Adverb of place)
8. Where are you taking us to? (Ungrammatical)
9. From where are you taking us? (Pronoun)
10. Where have you TAKEN us? (Adverb of place)
11. Where have you taken us to? (Ungrammatical)
12. From where have you taken us? (Pronoun)
The verbs in (D) have a certain ambiguity; thus, TO is implicit whereas FROM has to be explicit. TO WHERE Man goes is implicit (to dust we shall return). FROM WHERE Man came??? Darwin was pretty explicit about this (certainly not from dust!). BUT WHO KNOWS?
By-product of my humble text preparation.
How about bringing 'whence' back? I think it should make a comeback.
That would sort out the FROM bit. And we'd sound ancient in this techie world!
Originally Posted by tdol
I wonder if languages should be probed too deeply?
I can't see why we can't bring something back when we see that it could add something. I use 'whence' sometimes. Mind you, I hate the usage of'from whence', which you do come across occasionally.
The "ancient" bit wasn't half serious.
Originally Posted by tdol
Usefulness-wise, using "whence" does sort out the FROM bit, by being explicit, to mean "from where". I do wonder why it's discarded or considered "formal and archaic", as with many other words.
English has been simplified over the decades (some would disagree!). The good part of this, I think, is the greater subtlety and dependence on context. The bad part is greater room for mis-communication. :wink:
Some people do still use it. I use it formally.
Re: The Depth of WHERE
Mea maxima culpa. Corrections in red.
Originally Posted by jwschang
(A) and (D) still requires FROM to be explicit.
Per (C) and (D), not so with TO, which can be explicit or implicit.
In my neck of the woods "Where does this lead to?" is perfectly fine, although I suppose one could omit the "to" there.