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Firstly I am not very good in English, so pardon me, is my question sounds too silly.

  • Why we use "thereof"?
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up vote 12 down vote accepted

It is a formal way of referring to something just mentioned.


of the thing just mentioned;
of that: the member state or a part thereof.

I like this example: "This chair is suited to your life or lack thereof."

Here thereof refers to the life you may or may not have, and the chair will suit you in either case.

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+1. Thereof can usually be replaced by of it, of one, of any or something similar: This chair is suited to your life or lack of one. – psmears May 29 '11 at 9:12

It reflects the fact that its is a relatively modern word. Until about 1550, his was used for both modern his and modern its. When that use of his became obsolete, it was replaced by thereof. On the Liberty Bell, this verse from the King James Bible appears: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." In modern language we would say "all its inhabitants", but the word its does not appear in original editions of the King James Bible. Because of this use of thereof, it survived until modern times in highly formal, legal, and religious language and parodies of them ("parodies thereof", I might say).

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Why would ‘its’ have anything to do with ‘thereof’? The former is a possessive form of an anaphoric pronoun, the latter a combination of a demonstrative pronoun and a preposition. ‘Thereof’ is not equivalent to ‘its’, but to ‘of it’ or ‘of that’. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 29 '14 at 17:54
"Its" and "of it" are semantic equivalents. – John Cowan Jul 23 '14 at 22:00
In some contexts, yes; in others not. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” cannot be rephrased with its, for example. It’s not really accurate to say that his as a possessive of it was replaced by thereof in the 16th century, either: it wasn’t a one-to-one switch (both it, of it, and therefore were used where previously his had been more common), and therefore had been in use as a possessive circumlocution of it for at least a couple of centuries by that time. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 23 '14 at 22:10

protected by RegDwigнt Feb 23 '12 at 23:20

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