If I decided to make a Word-of-the-Millenium category, this word would be the only entry: WHEREFORE.
It means WHY! NOT WHERE! Juliet is asking “Why are you ‘Romeo’? Why not have a different name?” etc. Not “where are you”. This word has been used incorrectly everywhere for as long as I can remember. People love to use Shakespeare quotations to make their essays, articles, speeches sound clever. But many just make themselves look like idiots because they didn’t bother to do their research.
Only a few minutes ago I came across a post online titled “Wherefore art thou, Duncan?” Referring to Duncan Hunter, one of the the candidates in the 2008 presidential popularity contest. I was irked. I hesitated to write to the author and correct him, but I think I will. It’s never to late to be schooled.
It’s really not so hard to remember anyway. WHY? BECAUSE: WHEREfore? THEREfore. WHEREwolf? THEREwolf. So if you’re out and about and you hear another improper use of this word, please feel free to verbally slap the offending party with your superior intellect. Actually, politely correct them. It will go down much smoother for both of you.