I Heard It From The PR Girl

Week 2: “Where” Vs “In Which”

Posted in Topic of the Week by laurynwilliams on January 21, 2010

In the Grammar Girl:  “Where” Vs “In Which” blog and podcast I learned when to use these two words and how they can affect a sentence’s meaning.  Maybe these tips will help some of you as well!

1.  What I learned.

“Which” and “where” function as relative pronouns, and they both describe place. “Which” is more formal than “where,” therefore you must decide what is most appropriate for the audience you are addressing.  When having a casual conversation you will most likely say “where,” not “in which,” or you may shorten the sentence to remove both words and alleviate the problem altogether. An example from Grammar Girl:  “The pound where I found Spot was on State Street” can be changed to “I found Spot at the State Street pound.”  Also, the word “where” does not mean a place in time.  Therefore, do not use “where” next to a date, but only with a physical place.

2. What surprised me.

First, a preposition can be added before the relative pronoun “which” to make your sentence mean something more specific.  For example, “The baseball game in which I saw you” means something different than “The baseball game at which I saw you.”  Secondly, you can avoid informality by adding “which” to remove a preposition at the end of a sentence.

3.  What I want to know more about.

It surprised me to know that a formal “which” doesn’t sound right near an informal “I’ve.”  I had never thought about it, and I am glad that it was brought to my attention.  I wonder what other formal words sound misplaced when followed by an informal contraction?

Citing: Grammar Girl:  “Where” Vs “In Which”


2 Responses to 'Week 2: “Where” Vs “In Which”'

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  1. crawlins said,

    I greatly enjoyed your post and think that this will help me. One of my weak points is in grammar and specifically, what words to choose when writing a paper, post, or anything.

    It is interesting to learn that “which” is a more formal word than “where” is. So, I know now that I should not use the word “where” right beside a date that is written, but it is appropriate to use it when speaking about a physical place.

    This post also makes me wonder which words are misplaced based on their formality when I speak or write.

    Thanks for alerting me to this issue and I’ll be sure to look for it in my future writing.

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