small grammar patch

Marc Powell marc at
Fri Aug 12 16:53:49 CEST 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: nagios-devel-admin at [mailto:nagios-devel-
> admin at] On Behalf Of jeff vier
> Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 9:00 AM
> To: Andreas Ericsson
> Cc: Nagios Developers
> Subject: Re: [Nagios-devel] small grammar patch
> On Fri, 2005-08-12 at 02:13 +0200, Andreas Ericsson wrote:
> > > minor grammar edit in cgi.c.
> > > "Whence" means "from where".
> > > So, "Return from whence you came." is silly ('from from'?).
> > >
> >
> > It's actually correct as it is. Whence is just "when" but used in
the 3
> > spatial dimensions rather than the linear one (time). All according
> > the little dictionary applet RedHat decided to install on my laptop
> > along with the actually useful stuff.
> >
> >      O, how unlike the place from whence they fell?
> >                                                    --Milton.
> >           1913 Webster
> I still maintain 'from' is redundant, although RedHat's definition
> is...interesting ;)
> This is the most succinct on the topic:
> and Webster (since you used the quote from them) disagrees on the
> definition you posted, as well:
> Not saying it's not commonly pre-pended with "from", but that doesn't
> make it any less questionable.

And from

"Usage Note: The construction from whence has been criticized as
redundant since the 18th century. It is true that whence incorporates
the sense of from: a remote village, whence little news reached the
wider world. But from whence has been used steadily by reputable writers
since the 14th century, most notably in the King James Bible: "I will
lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help" (Psalms).
Such a respectable precedent makes it difficult to label the
construction as incorrect. Still, it may be observed that whence (like
thence) is most often used nowadays to impart an archaic or highly
formal tone to a passage, and that this effect is probably better
realized if the archaic syntax of the word without from is preserved as

All this over a tiny little word ;)


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