Syntax: Where/When/In Which

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Was Jones a case where the plaintiff was found not guilty by reason of insanity? Or would in which be clearer?

Where:

  • Where should be used to refer to a specific location or place, or to refer to an issue in which the location matters (e.g., jurisdiction): “The jurisdiction where this case was heard was within the Ninth Circuit.”

When:

  • When should be used to refer to a specific moment in time or event: “That was the moment when the court rendered its decision.”

In Which:

  • In which should be used to refer to a circumstance or context. Thus, it is a better choice for referring to the details of a case: “That was the case in which the plaintiff was found not guilty by reason of insanity.”

Rule: If emphasizing TIME, use “when”; if emphasizing LOCATION, use “where”; if emphasizing CONTEXT, use “in which.”

And to make sure that you know when to use each of these words, here are a few practice problems!

1

1 / 5

1. Which word is correct for the underlined portion of the following sentence? It exemplified a corporate era where financialization too often eclipsed production.

2 / 5

2. In the next sentence, which of the underlined words or phrases, if any, has an error? The consultant’s suggestion included a plan where each of the departments was to reduce its expenses by holding a contest soliciting ideas on how to do so.

3 / 5

3. In the next sentence, which of the underlined words or phrases, if any, has an error? Under one scenario, the combined effects of business uncertainty and a weaker pound would be likely to cut the economy’s growth rate (compared with a situation where Britain had voted to remain in the EU) by 1-2 percentage points in the next 12 months, with the worst impact coming in the second half of this year.

4 / 5

4. In the next sentence, which of the underlined words or phrases, if any, has an error? The hundredth monkey effect, a controversial theory popularized by Lawrence Blair and Lyall Watson in the 1970s, a phenomenon in which one group adopts rapidly a new behavior or idea after a critical mass of the members of another group—in the eponymous case, about 100 macaque monkeys on a single island that all learned to wash sweet potatoes—exhibit that same behavior.

5 / 5

5. In the next sentence, which of the underlined words or phrases, if any, has an error? Cloture, a Senate procedure used when attempting to bring a matter to vote, causes a limitation where further consideration of a given proposal to no more than thirty hours.

Your score is

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