English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Possible Duplicate:
Is “from whence” correct? Or should it be “whence”?

From the Shakespeare's Sonnet XLVIII,

From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
 And even thence thou wilt be stol'n I fear,
 For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.

Isn't the definition of whence is "from where" or "from what place" which when converted from the phrase above will be "From from where at pleasure..."? Does Shakespeare use the word whence incorrectly?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Carlo_R., RegDwigнt Dec 14 '12 at 9:37

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I am closing this as a dupe (which it is), but frankly, any question titled "Do [sic] Shakespeare use X incorrectly" is rhetorical at best, and better closed as NARQ. – RegDwigнt Dec 14 '12 at 9:41

The Oxford English Dictionary has 720 citations attesting from whence, so I think it would be rather hard on Shakespeare to suggest he has made a mistake. As far as current usage is concerned, whence is probably best avoided altogether, other than for special effect.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.