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I am confused with the usage of "where" and "in which".

Is this because family is not a place.?

Incorrect: The survey showed that children are much more psychologically stable when raised in a family with two parents than in a family where only one parent cares for the child

Correct: The survey showed that children are much more psychologically stable when raised in a family with two parents than in a family in which only one parent cares for the child

  • Who says the first sentence is incorrect and on what basis? Can you show us a quote or link? – user24743 Apr 25 '16 at 11:28
  • It is a question from "Manhattan Review GMAT Sentence Correction Guide [4th edition]" Question number 28 in which it states "where" is incorrect usage. – ARYF Apr 25 '16 at 11:35
  • “Where” may appear imprecise and hence informal. – userr2684291 Apr 25 '16 at 11:42
  • Is there any necessary that "where" should be used with only for places and not for situations – ARYF Apr 25 '16 at 11:47
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the Manhattan Review GMAT Sentence Correction Guide doesn't know what it's talking about. There's nothing remotely "incorrect" about using where with "non-spatial" referent nouns such as family, company, academic field, etc. So the question is based on a false premise. – FumbleFingers Apr 25 '16 at 12:59
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Yes, you are correct. In formal English, you would use in which because you are NOT referring to a place. For example...

The store where I purchased the flowers is now closed.

Books in which vampires are the main characters are very popular.

However, in informal English, you will usually hear English speakers use where in both examples because in which sounds very formal.

The following link talks about the use of these two in regards to the GRE: where vs in which for GRE

  • This confuses me because it could be read to imply that a store is not a place! – Alan Carmack Apr 25 '16 at 16:33
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    @AlanCarmack I'm not sure what you mean. A store is a place, so we use "where." – KittyConsultant Apr 25 '16 at 21:17

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