Some words in the English language sound archaic, overly formal, or like legalese and tend to confuse us regarding their usage. We wonder if we are using them correctly or if we need to use them in the first place. We might also wonder if we are spelling it right, so is it correct to say “aforementioned?”
Once you have written about something, you can later refer to it as “aforementioned” without having to list the details or describe it all over again. We would rarely use the word in speech and would most often see it in formal writing, specifically business and legal documents.
This article will look at the various ways we can use “aforementioned” and examples in sentences. In addition, we will learn how to distinguish between different parts of speech with a focus on adjectives and adverbs.
What Does “Aforementioned” Mean?
Merriam-Webster defines “aforementioned” simply as “mentioned previously.” It is an adjective, which means we use it to qualify a noun (source).
- Any of the aforementioned students will make a great choice for valedictorian.
- We met each other at the aforementioned party.
We most often use it as an adjective in business or legal language to refer to something written in an earlier sentence, page, or referenced document.
- Please note that the information in the aforementioned email is confidential.
- The judge sent a summons to the defendant for the aforementioned contract breach.
In some specific uses, we can use “aforementioned” as a noun where it directly references the person or people mentioned earlier (source).
- The aforementioned were at the restaurant already.
- The police reported that they had captured the aforementioned the previous night.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Aforementioned”?
“Aforementioned” is grammatically correct. It precedes the noun it is modifying and follows the definite article “the.” When someone uses it in business or legal writing, it refers to clauses, contracts, or agreements mentioned earlier in that writing or a previously written document.
Is “Aforementioned” Formal?
“Aforementioned” is most common in business or legal documents, so, in that context, it is formal rather than informal. As we have already discussed, it is grammatically correct, but using it informally could make writing sound archaic or pompous.
Depending on the context, we can use a synonym or skip the word(s) completely without losing the meaning.
For example, instead of saying, “The aforementioned car was a Corvette,” you could say,
“The car mentioned earlier was a Corvette.” Alternatively, you could simply skip “mentioned earlier” and say, “It was a Corvette.”
Is It “Aforementioned” or “Forementioned?”
Both adjectives are very similar in meaning, and we can mostly use them interchangeably. Collins dictionary defines “forementioned” as “mentioned previously,” same as that for “aforementioned” (source).
However, some sources point out that while “aforementioned” can refer to anything or anyone mentioned previously — where previously can be further back in the narrative or even a previous document — “forementioned” refers to something or someone mentioned earlier or above, more recently, and in the current written narrative or document.
For example, if an email contains a list of students, then towards the end of the email, the writer can correctly use these words interchangeably:
- They could name any of the aforementioned students as a valedictorian.
- They could name any of the forementioned students as a valedictorian.
However, if the list of students was in a previous email where the writer discusses eligibility for being a valedictorian, then “aforementioned” is the correct option.
Having said this, note that writers rarely use “forementioned” now, and many word processors ask writers to consider “aforementioned” instead.
Can You Say “As Aforementioned?”
Simply put, “as aforementioned” is incorrect. Instead, we should say “as previously mentioned” or “as mentioned earlier.”
“Aforementioned” is an adjective, and, as such, it has to modify a noun. The phrase “as aforementioned” uses it incorrectly as a verb. Still, you can expect to run across instances of this incorrect usage in articles or reports, but now you know that it is wrong!
So, to clarify with examples:
- As aforementioned, the medicine takes effect in a couple of hours. (incorrect)
- As mentioned earlier, the medicine takes effect in a couple of hours. (correct)
The How, When, and What of “Aforementioned”
Now, let us consider the various ways in which we can use “aforementioned,” as well as when to use it or skip it. In addition, we will look at substitutes for “aforementioned.”
How Do You Use “Aforementioned”?
We would most often use it in its adjective form and directly before the noun it modifies. In addition, the article “the” precedes it, regardless of how we use it.
Remember that we use “aforementioned” to refer to someone or something we or someone else have previously mentioned, so it follows that it refers to someone or something specific.
We use articles (a, an, the) before nouns and adjectives that precede the nouns they modify. Since the article “the” indicates that the writer is pointing to a specific thing or person, it makes sense that we use the definite article before “aforementioned.”
- The aforementioned restaurant has excellent service.
- Members access all benefits after meeting the aforementioned requirements.
In the above examples, we are referring to a specific restaurant as well as a specific set of requirements someone mentioned earlier. Therefore, “the” precedes the adjective modifying the noun.
Similarly, in the below sentences, where no noun follows “aforementioned,” making it the subject implicitly, we still use “the” before it since it again refers to a specific thing or person (maybe singular or plural) someone discussed previously.
- The aforementioned were at the restaurant already.
- The police said they had captured the aforementioned the previous night.
However, there is one exception. We skip the article before “aforementioned” when we use it as itself, like in this sentence or the below examples.
- The dictionary defines “aforementioned” as mentioned previously.
- We do not hear people use the word “aforementioned” in speech often.
Read our article “Is It Correct to Say ‘Sheeps’?” to learn more about how to use the different articles (a, an, and the).
In What Context Can You Use “Aforementioned”
Once you have written about something, you can later refer to it as “aforementioned.” Since “afore” sounds a lot like “before,” and “mention” means to “refer to something briefly,” “aforementioned” is simply a brief reference to something stated before.
For example, maybe an earlier company email stated a list of rules and regulations. The second email can then have a sentence containing the phrase “the aforementioned list.”
Another example could be a business article that references a previously mentioned list of products to explain another concept, like “the aforementioned product list,” instead of listing everything out again.
When Can You Use “Aforementioned”
As we have discussed earlier, we most often use “aforementioned” in formal writing, including legal documents like deeds, certificates, power of attorneys, or titles, among others to refer to sections, articles, or other elements mentioned previously.
We also use it in business contracts to reference items like contractual agreements, terms, parties involved, or rules and regulations.
- It stated that the city’s economy declined by 2.5% in the aforementioned period.
- Both parties signed the aforementioned agreement in the presence of witnesses.
When Not to Use “Aforementioned”
While it is okay to use the word in all scenarios where it is grammatically correct, it does tend to sound archaic, too formal, or even pompous in certain cases when we use it for informal writing. In addition, you will seldom hear it in speech unless in a very formal context such as a courtroom.
In any other situation, it’s better to use substitutes or skip it altogether.
Using “Aforementioned” in a Full Sentence
Let us look at different ways we can use the word “aforementioned” in a sentence.
“Aforementioned” as an adjective:
- This museum was once the home of the aforementioned author.
- In addition to the aforementioned movies, Mr. Jones has also produced plays.
- Only a few studies have examined the aforementioned issues.
- The parties cannot terminate the contract for the aforementioned reasons.
As we noted earlier, “aforementioned” is sometimes used as a noun:
- He reported the police had captured the aforementioned the previous night.
What Can You Use Instead of “Aforementioned”?
Since we might normally see “aforementioned” in business or legal writing, we can choose to use different words for “aforementioned” in other formal and informal writing.
We can also choose to skip the word or its synonym depending on context. Let us look at some synonyms and how we can substitute them for “aforementioned” in the examples from the previous section.
Informal Synonyms (with “mentioned,” “said,” or “listed,” among others):
“Aforementioned” as an adjective:
- This museum was once the home of the previously mentioned author.
- In addition to the movies listed earlier, Mr. Jones has also produced plays.
- Only a few studies have examined the above-mentioned issues.
- The parties cannot terminate the contract for the aforesaid reasons.
“Aforementioned” as a noun (replaced by the pronoun “them”):
- He reported that the police had captured them the previous night.
How to Distinguish Between Different Parts of Speech
Parts of speech refer to the main categories assigned to words according to their function in sentences. English contains eight basic parts of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection (source).
Some schools of grammar will include articles instead of interjections, while others will list nine parts of speech, including articles along with the aforementioned eight parts of speech.
The below table provides a swift overview of these different parts of speech.
|Part of Speech||Function||Example words||Usage in a sentence|
|Noun||Is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea||Jane, country, jacket, joy||Jane has a jacket.|
It gives her joy.
|Verb||Expresses action or being||(to) be, have, do, run, jump, dance, read||Jane reads every day.|
She also likes dancing.
|Pronoun||Replaces a noun||I, she, him, they, it, those||This is delicious.|
I love it.
|Adjective||Describes or modifies a noun||Red, young, pretty, large, joyous, loud||Jane has a blue jacket.|
The party was loud.
|Adverb||Describes or modifies a verb, adjective, or adverb||Extremely, joyously, quickly, gently||She gently applied salve on the wound.|
He walked slowly back home.
|Conjunction||Joins words, phrases, or clauses||And, or, but, since||Jane and Jack went to London for a holiday, but Jack had to return for work.|
|Preposition||Shows relationship between two or more nouns or noun phrases||Above, by, down, until||They walked down to the store nearby.|
|Interjection||Expresses emotion||Aha, ouch, wow||Wow, Jane’s blue jacket is stunning!|
Adjectives and Adverbs
Let us briefly focus on the differences between adjectives and adverbs (source).
An adjective is a word we use to describe or modify a noun or a pronoun. Adjectives usually answer questions like which one, what kind, or how many. As we already know, “aforementioned” is an adjective and specifies “which one.”
An adverb is a word we use to modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb. An adverb usually modifies by telling how, when, where, why, under what conditions, or to what degree. We often form an adverb by adding -ly to an adjective.
Here is one example that uses both adjectives and adverbs:
The chocolate cake was exceptionally delicious and filled with an especially appealing strawberry ganache. Jane realized she should eat it really quickly, just in case her brother decided he wanted a “bite!” So, of course, the aforementioned treat disappeared in seconds!
This article is written for strategiesforparents.com.
Check out our article “Are Numbers Adjectives?” to get a different look at determiners and adjectives.
In this article, we learned in-depth about the word “aforementioned,” including how and when to use it and other options instead. For example, we now know that it is most common in legal or business writing and that we can use “stated earlier” or “foregoing” instead.
Remember that as you read and write more, you will better understand how and when to use words correctly. “Practice makes perfect,” after all. So you will soon be able to easily figure out even the more perplexing aspects of grammar, like the aforementioned parts of speech!