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Firstly I am not very good in English, so pardon me, is my question sounds too silly.

  • Why we use "thereof"?

3 Answers 3

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It is a formal way of referring to something just mentioned.

formal

of the thing just mentioned;
of that: the member state or a part thereof.

I like this example: "This chair is suited to your life or lack thereof."

Here thereof refers to the life you may or may not have, and the chair will suit you in either case.

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    +1. Thereof can usually be replaced by of it, of one, of any or something similar: This chair is suited to your life or lack of one.
    – psmears
    May 29, 2011 at 9:12
  • @psmears, "thereof" is still longer than that of which it replaces... Isn't it like quite a pointless term seriously besides showing faux-authority?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 4, 2016 at 12:21
  • @mplungjan, What do you think of the above comment?
    – Pacerier
    Apr 10, 2017 at 22:25
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It reflects the fact that its is a relatively modern word. Until about 1550, his was used for both modern his and modern its. When that use of his became obsolete, it was replaced by thereof. On the Liberty Bell, this verse from the King James Bible appears: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." In modern language we would say "all its inhabitants", but the word its does not appear in original editions of the King James Bible. Because of this use of thereof, it survived until modern times in highly formal, legal, and religious language and parodies of them ("parodies thereof", I might say).

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    Why would ‘its’ have anything to do with ‘thereof’? The former is a possessive form of an anaphoric pronoun, the latter a combination of a demonstrative pronoun and a preposition. ‘Thereof’ is not equivalent to ‘its’, but to ‘of it’ or ‘of that’. Jan 29, 2014 at 17:54
  • "Its" and "of it" are semantic equivalents.
    – John Cowan
    Jul 23, 2014 at 22:00
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    In some contexts, yes; in others not. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” cannot be rephrased with its, for example. It’s not really accurate to say that his as a possessive of it was replaced by thereof in the 16th century, either: it wasn’t a one-to-one switch (both it, of it, and therefore were used where previously his had been more common), and therefore had been in use as a possessive circumlocution of it for at least a couple of centuries by that time. Jul 23, 2014 at 22:10
  • A good example that was solved by your great answer @JohnCowan: "a trial that hath been used time out of mind in this nation, and seems to have been coeval with the first civil government thereof". "Thereof" here relates to "nation", and it could be replaced by "its first civil government".
    – gaborous
    Sep 6, 2016 at 16:33
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Here's another example usage of the word:

Instead of:

The truth of the matter will be determined by the quality and quantity of the evidence.

..The writer may opt for:

The truth of the matter will be determined by the evidence (the quality and quantity thereof).

..But I agree with the other folks that the word can be replaced by "of it":

The truth of the matter will be determined by the evidence (the quality and quantity of it).

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