As I know, the words "Aforementioned" and "In question" have a similar meaning and imply referring to something that has already been mentioned, but when I looked up at the internet i found out that aforementioned was much more commonly used.

Let me demonstrate with an example:

"I want to apply for the English Course of X University. The aforementioned course is highly recommended because of.."

"I want to apply for the English Course of X University. The course in question is highly recommended because of.."

Is there a difference between the two sentences in terms of meaning?

  • 1
    In terms of meaning, no. In terms of usage, aforementioned is more formal
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


One important difference is in placement. "aforementioned" can only be used when (as the word literally states) the first mention of the thing comes before. "in question" can be used (as in the example from @jlovegren) before clarifying what the thing is.


One difference is that in question can be cataphoric while aforementioned cannot. Here's a corpus example of in question where aforementioned could not be used felicitously. I am supposing that the phrase "the stand your ground law" has not been previously mentioned, but it is part of the conversational background.

GEORGE-STEPHANOPOU# (Off-camera) And the President - we saw parts of the comments the President had there, George. He also went on to say, as I talked about with David Plouffe, that, " I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out, how does something like this happen? " What lesson, if any, do you draw from it?
GEORGE-WILL-1-ABC# (Off-camera) That the law in question, the so-called Stand Your Ground law, is a bad idea, because it tries to codify a right of self-defense, but it really confers upon citizens the illusion at least that they have something like powers exercised by highly trained police officers. Mr Zimmerman says he was acting under this self-defense law, but he is said to have been recorded saying that he was in pursuit of the person. You can not be in pursuit and acting in self-defense.

  • I understand the difference in usage but would be glad if you could simplify :)
    – Insomnia
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 17:11

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