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I'm writing a paper. In it, I have the following sentence.

The ________ principle has two discrepancies.

I am considering using either "aforementioned" or "aforesaid". How are the meaning of the two different? The definition for "aforesaid" is

Stated or mentioned before; aforementioned.

The definition of "aforementioned" is

Previously mentioned, esp. in a text.

Are their meanings different? When should I use which?

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  • You have "aforestated" in your title, but in the question you mention "aforementioned" and "aforesaid." I'd use "aforementioned in a paper, though I can't tell you why.
    – JAM
    Nov 3, 2012 at 19:50
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    I'd probably choose aforementioned in that case, and it seems this is increasingly becoming the popular choice
    – Jim
    Nov 3, 2012 at 19:51
  • @Jim: That Ngram uses the word "principle", but that's probably not a good way to really see how often the words are used. After all, there could be an aforementioned theorum, an aforementioned axiom, an aforementioned lemma, etc.
    – J.R.
    Nov 4, 2012 at 0:57
  • @J.R.- yes, it was not my intent to see how aforementioned was used in general, but rather how it was used with principle. I felt that coupling it might help eliminate some of the other forms/phrases that might creep in in a more general search. If my intention was to compare relative frequencies of use, you are correct that adding principle would not be the way to do that.
    – Jim
    Nov 4, 2012 at 1:34
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    Is there a reason that you can't just say "this principle ..." instead of "the aforementioned principle ..."? It's kind of what "this" means.
    – user16269
    Nov 4, 2012 at 9:57

3 Answers 3

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They make you sound like a lawyer, and I wouldn’t use either. Try The principle (I have) already mentioned or The principle referred to above.

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    It depends on the context, I think. I've seen aforementioned rather often, particularly in proofs, or in papers where one principle keeps building upon another. Your suggestions are good for those times when you only need to refer to something previously mentioned once or twice, but aforementioned can be a concise way to say it if you need to express that notion several times throughout a scientific paper.
    – J.R.
    Nov 4, 2012 at 1:02
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I find the supercited aforementioned to be way too complicated. It tends to raise eyebrows, and not just superciliously, either. More like supersilliest, perhaps.

You could just call it the stated principle, or (unless this form bothers you too much), the above principle.

Just don’t use supercited. :)

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said implies speech.

If one points out "but that was written and not said" in case you use a speech-related expression in relation to a text, it's pointless nitpicking, but it's the kind of nitpicking easily avoided by using a generic, non-speech-related expression like mentioned instead.

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