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Is “from whence” correct? Or should it be “whence”?

From the Shakespeare's Sonnet XLVIII,

From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
 And even thence thou wilt be stol'n I fear,
 For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.

Isn't the definition of whence is "from where" or "from what place" which when converted from the phrase above will be "From from where at pleasure..."? Does Shakespeare use the word whence incorrectly?

  • 3
    I am closing this as a dupe (which it is), but frankly, any question titled "Do [sic] Shakespeare use X incorrectly" is rhetorical at best, and better closed as NARQ.
    – RegDwigнt
    Dec 14, 2012 at 9:41

1 Answer 1


The Oxford English Dictionary has 720 citations attesting from whence, so I think it would be rather hard on Shakespeare to suggest he has made a mistake. As far as current usage is concerned, whence is probably best avoided altogether, other than for special effect.

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