Is it valid to say "mentioned above" when one reference to something one have previously said?

Context example (transcript from The Law of One):

Questioner: George Van Tassel built a machine in our western desert called an “Integratron.” Will this machine work for that purpose, of increasing the life span?

Ra: I am Ra. The machine is incomplete and will not function for the above-mentioned purpose.

  • Please define "valid". It is certainly possible, grammatical, and common. The rest is a question of style. What is the context, the register? Are you writing a speech for the President, discussing the latest flick with your buddy, or reading aloud an academic paper that actually has these words written down? – RegDwigнt Jul 8 '14 at 18:20
  • I've updated question. I hope it's more precise. – rgtk Jul 8 '14 at 18:32

"Above-mentioned" wouldn't be a good chose nor very clear because the listener would be wondering "above what?" "above where?".

For your example, you could use aforementioned:

Ra: I am Ra. The machine is incomplete and will not function for the aforementioned purpose.

Per MWO:

aforementioned: mentioned previously

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Mentioned above is a more typical phrase in writing than it would be in speaking. In speech, I would expect to hear as I said previously or as previously mentioned, or something similar.

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  • 2
    Aforementioned is an even better word for what is trying to be said. – Dispenser Jul 8 '14 at 18:38

No, that's acceptable in writing. When you are giving a lecture or making a speech, you'd better say something like:

  • "As I have already mentioned."
  • "As I have mentioned before."
  • "As I have mentioned previously."

"The machine is incomplete and will not function for the purpose I have just mentioned/for that purpose/for that specific purpose/for the purpose I mentioned earlier."

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When speaking, I'd say it's best to substitute "mentioned above" with something like "mentioned previously" or "as stated before." Something along those lines.

Written prose is often presented in column form (e.g. reading down a page), so it is sensible to come across a "mentioned above" since it accurately references its context. In spoken prose however, the message is generally thought to resemble a more transverse form - spanning side to side rather than up and down. Subjects are referenced in chronological terms instead of geographical terms.

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  • I sometimes prefer the chronological to the spatial form of cross-reference even in written discourse, since it may well chance that the reference will point from the top of a recto page to the bottom of the facing verso, which is hardly spatially above. But I consider it pretty much always appropriate for writer and reader to agree in making believe that a written discourse is an oral one. – Brian Donovan Jul 8 '14 at 18:55
  • A mere 'stated' is often fine where the previous reference is in the previous sentence. And not as comical / pretentious as 'aforementioned'. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 8 '14 at 19:51

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