When to use the two? Is the sentence "England is from where I hail" grammatically correct? (It sounds ok to me but it looks funny.) Or do I have to write "England is where I hail from"?

  • "I hail from England" would possibly be more common.
    – neil
    Nov 12, 2013 at 16:03
  • 5
    It's a dated/poetic form. If you're not familiar with the usage, it's probably best to avoid it entirely and just stick with the standard "I come from England". Nov 12, 2013 at 17:21

4 Answers 4


Both are grammatical, but the second is more usual. In general, this use of hail is not natural in normal everyday speech. It sounds as if the speaker is deliberately trying to make a statement sound less banal than it is, and not succeeding.

  • 2
    The more common way to say this would be "I'm from England". Both of the more 'formal' phrases are fine to use. Though some english teachers will tell you not to end a sentence with a preposition, the latter sentence DOES sound more natural, and outside of very picky English teachers, you won't find many complaints about it.
    – Zibbobz
    Nov 12, 2013 at 15:22
  • In my experience it is one of those terms that is introduced by speakers to add a little colour and to avoid repetition of everyday expressions. 'Where does that new chap come from? Not sure, but from the way he speaks I should think he hails from Somerset, or the West Country somewhere'. It is one of those words which will make your speech sound a bit contrived if you overuse it.
    – WS2
    Nov 12, 2013 at 16:31
  • I always found it funny that English teachers are so adamant that ending with a preposition is evil. English speakers have been doing it since, well, forever. For a fun, quick read on why we suffer with this myth, you could do worse than data.grammarbook.com/blog/definitions/… (Wait, how old is this question? And why did it pop up on my current questions list?)
    – Dúthomhas
    May 2, 2020 at 3:29

The term hail from is a phrasal verb

(hail from) have one’s home or origins in (a place): they hail from Turkey

It is almost always used in its exact form. While from where I hail would probably be understood by most, it would seem odd to most native speakers (at least in the US). This ngram shows an example of relative usage.

Even in its usual form, hail from is not very common in US English and would seem colloquial or archaic to most.

  • 1
    True. But the phrase where X hail(s) from is also fixed and frequent, so the order of hail and from isn't as crucial as it is with be from in *the place from which I am. Nov 12, 2013 at 16:06

Both are possible. But it is better to use the second one (England is where I hail from).

In standard English 'I hail from England.' is used.

('Where do you hail from?'-'I hail from England.')

  • This definitely needs a note to say that "to hail from" is dated and should be avoided.
    – Greybeard
    Oct 4, 2022 at 10:57
  • Should I say 'Where do you come from'? Oct 4, 2022 at 16:12
  • Yes. Definitely.
    – Greybeard
    Oct 4, 2022 at 20:52
  • Thank you so much. Oct 5, 2022 at 3:30

If it is uncommon, that is new. I was born in the 1950s and grew up in rural America. “Where do you hail from?” and “From where does he/she hail?” were used extensively by people where I grew up. Because “common” does not mean accurate, when asking from where did a person come, the better educated used “from where” while the rest of us used “where from." “I hail from…” and “He/she hails from…” were also commonly used.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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