Is this a correct use of namely:

We will investigate two different research questions:
1. Is there a correlation between age and income?
2. Does university education lead to higher income?

From the first two question, a third one arises namely: does higher income lead to more happiness?

  • Ahhh, the good old days. "Namely" used to be a common foil for MAD Magazine humor in the '60s and '70s . Feb 20, 2014 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


Namely substitutes for "that is". The way you have written it makes it look like you are thinking of it as modifying the verb arises, which is incorrect. These are two separate thoughts, and namely introduces the second one.

From the first two questions, a third one arises. Namely, does higher income lead to more happiness?

Or some version thereof.

  • I'm not really a "grammarian", but I find it interesting that you would use ...arises. Namely, does... where @David favours ...arises, namely: does... My own preference would be for ...arises: namely, does... but I've no idea what the real language mavens would have to say on the matter. Feb 20, 2014 at 17:43
  • 1
    @Fumble I used the full stop in my example to make the two separate thoughts as clear as possible, but I would be more likely to use ...arises; namely, does.... I wouldn't use a colon there at all; I don't think it would be appropriate. It's not introducing a list, but rather an addendum to a prior statement.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Feb 20, 2014 at 18:11
  • On reflection, I agree; semicolon is more appropriate there. Feb 20, 2014 at 18:16

It is correct, but I would add a comma:

"… arises, namely: does a higher …"

Also, I would add "a" in a few places: Does a University education lead to a higher income"

Another nitpick, I rather prefer greater to higher in this usage. Higher is more of a comparison of height or altitude than size. Yes it is used (and perfectly acceptable). But, greater is better.

  • How about "higher income level" ? Feb 20, 2014 at 15:05
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    @CarlWitthoft Higher describes the level not the income in that case. (i.e. the height of the income rather than the size.) Much better fit. And, as I've said: nitpick.
    – David M
    Feb 20, 2014 at 15:16

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