I am publishing an article (research) and I am wondering whether theses words, albeit far more beautiful than their equivalent using which, can still be employed even though the OED described them as archaic. I use whereof and wherein the most. The rest of the set is used as a logical derivation in general (like consequently etc.). I do not mind being formal. My British reviewer did not comment on their usage.

Being in science, the field of the article does not use a complicated english (it is a branch of biology). So, besides their clarity, it may be a good opportunity to show how good they are; but if these are already too much, can they all be replaced automatically by their counterparts with there- without changing anything to my sentences ?

Yes, this is linked to where- and there- compounds

  • I'd query the 'clarity' of these words, from the point of view of the reader. And as an 'educated' native speaker, I'd find them so rare as to be faintly ludicrous. I'd have to counter a tendency to be put off the subject material by the choice of language. As regards phraseology, I speak from experience: an undergraduate physical chemistry text written almost in the English of Dickens made the subject almost twice as hard to understand. Let the science speak for itself (in English commonly used today); don't try to combine a romantic novel with a scientific report. Rather, write one of each. Apr 18, 2014 at 9:49
  • "(T)his article offers to those who write modern English a selection of oddments calculated to establish (in the eyes of some readers) their claim to be persons of taste and writers of beautiful English." Fowler (ed. Burchfield) sv. Wardour Street English; the oddments include 'several Where-compounds'. If Burchfield think them still clear enough to use, who dares gainsay him? Nov 1, 2014 at 23:54

2 Answers 2


As a non-native speaker I am not competent enough to give you advice. Nevertheless I would say the words are good and OED's label archaic is a bit exaggerated. Longman's DCE labels some as old and some as formal. So one can say there are different views. And in your case, in an article of research, I think, such words are appropriate and it is your individual style. I wouldn't exaggerate the use of these words though. I am German, and we use these words a lot, they are part of everyday language and this may influence my view, but all the same I have some knowledge of English and have read a lot. Just my view. I think native speakers will give their view, as well.


I'm not a native English speaker, but I'm also in science. From personal experience, the use of the words you mentioned is often in humanities' research field - far more often then their more contemporary equivalents. Whatever the science you are in, it is presupposed that the readers are versed in usual scientific terminology and also - and this is not to be forgotten - that they possess a certain, more or less better connaissance of language (style, richness of vocabulary etc.). So, I would encourage the use of the mentioned words, but as suggested in the previous answer, without exaggeration. Good luck in your research and writing :).

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