Where Words

There are quite a few compound words that start with “where.” Many of these are used as adverbs or conjunctions, and some are used improperly.

The government’s favorite seems to be “whereas.” Politicians love to start their resolutions with a whole string of warm-ups beginning with “whereas” before they get to the “Be it resolved” part of the resolution.

Example:

Whereas Jeanne Perdue is a leader in the technical writing community, and

Whereas her Oil Patch Writing blog has achieved a total of 30,000 hits,

Be it resolved that Jeanne Perdue be awarded the title of Queen for the Day.

Actually, this usage of “whereas” as an equivalent of “because” began about 1795. A much earlier meaning has an opposite connotation of “on the contrary” or “although.”

Example:

The wells in the North structure have a gas/oil contact around 3,456 ft, whereas the wells in the South structure have a GOC of only 3,398 ft.

One of my favorite “where” words is the conjunction “whereby,” which means “by or through which.”

Example:

Proper reservoir management is a process whereby data is collected, decisions are made, and changes are implemented, resulting in incremental oil production.

Another one is the conjunction “whereof,” which means “of which.”

Example:

As Chief Geophysicist, he knows whereof he speaks.

Here’s one that’s a noun: wherewithal. It means resources or means or money.

Example:

The small service company didn’t have the wherewithal to buy the startup software firm that developed their new mobile monitoring application.

And one “where” word Shakespeare made famous is “wherefore.”
“Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

This question does not mean that Juliet is wondering where her new beau is in the darkness. Wherefore means “why” or “for what reason.” Juliet is asking why Romeo has to be a member of the enemy gang when she has just fallen in love with him. She is not inquiring about his whereabouts up there on the balcony, whereon she pines for his presence and whereto he stealthily creeps, whereupon they experience their first kiss.

But soft, here comes the boss. I better quit this romantic reverie.

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