A statement read

Today, mention of the word ‘Aadhaar’ would not lead a listener to the dictionary meaning of this word. Instead, every person on the very mentioning of this word ‘Aadhaar’ would associate it with the card that is issued to a person from where he/she can be identified.

My doubt is: Here which refers to the Aadhar Card but to my mind Aadhar card is not some place Is this construction wrong?

  • 1
    You're quite right. Any sort of ID card is something by (means of) which someone can be identified. Sep 26, 2018 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


This construction:

card that is issued to a person from where he/she can be identified

is not correct.

In fact it does not seem to be the original wording.

If the statement had been

card that is issued to a person whence he/she can be identified

it would have been perfectly acceptable.

Let's try to understand the conditions from which this statement came. We can expect to learn more about English in the process.

I can think of two likely reasons that from where was used.

First Possible Reason that from where is Used

Whence is correct. However the word whence is uncommon as an adverb and as a conjunction.

[English tends to simplify over time (in a certain sense) which leads us to favor other constructions over the original matched adverbs whence, hence, thence.]

Whence or any other uncommon word might be removed from a text if the change in overall style pleased the writer or editor.

Let's think about what could happen if we overlook the causal meaning and (incorrectly!) consider whence to be equivalent to from where in every case. This means we are only using whence directionally, ever.

This sort of (incorrect, but moderately effective) simplifying process could easily lead to a word processor rule that would automatically replace whence with from where.

Clearly there is some confusion between the directional/location usage and the causal/reason usage.

Second Possible Reason that from where is Used

It is possible the writer misunderstood from where as being capable of both roles.

Consulting a dictionary we can confirm there are many adverbs beginning in where-. One example would be whereto. Whereto does have a more general role.

Finally we can say that the confusion between location and reason is the problem.

Any wording which sets the card as the reason for being identified is correct.

Any wording that sets the card as the location where identifying starts is wrong.

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