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I would like to know whether I should use "from where" or "from which" in the following sentence:

The bird was standing on the table, from where/from which it flew toward me.

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    Both relative pronouns are valid in such contexts, but from which is far more common than from where. – FumbleFingers Jul 27 at 11:36
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    I'd certainly choose 'where' here (the visualisation being largely locative) unless this was an experiment in which the bird had been flying between various objects provided (when the type of object could be highlighted). – Edwin Ashworth Jul 27 at 11:59
  • "The bird was standing on my table, from which it flew onto the sofa" I don't know if I am right, but in this sentence the object is highlighted so I think maybe from which is better in this case? – Chien Te Lu Jul 27 at 12:49
  • Also possible, “The bird was standing on my table. From there, it flew onto the sofa.” – Jim Jul 27 at 17:48
  • @Jim Yes, it's definitely possible. But I prefer to think of my table as an object in this case, as the bird was moving from one object to another, instead of a location. From which=from it & From where= from there The bird was standing on my table, from which it flew onto the sofa= The bird was standing on my table. And then it flew onto the sofa from it. The bird was standing on my table, from where it flew onto the sofa= The bird was stand on my table. And then it flew onto the sofa from there. – Chien Te Lu Jul 27 at 17:57
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Neither is wrong. The choice is stylistic, not grammatical.

whence would be an archaic alternative, that is similarly being deprecated like whom.

There is no need to use a relative clause at all, because there is no selection to make. If you are merely expressing a sequence of events, then or before can order the events in the temporal domain, so that the tempus can remain constant. In fact, a temporal marker like before is almost required to correlate different tempi.

The bird stood on the table. Then it flew towards me.

The bird was standing on the table, before it flew towards me.

before also has the advantage that it historically relates with front, pre- etc. So it expresses immediacy in the local domain as well, cp. before we go in.

  • Thank you for replying. Actually I personally prefer from where to from which. The alternative you just mentioned, whence, actually refers to "from where". The point is that from which refers to the desk itself, which I personally think is a little bit weird as the bird didn't fly directly out of the desk, while from where indicates the location, in this case, "from on the desk" – Chien Te Lu Jul 27 at 12:40

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