When can we use preposition before "where" in relative clauses?

If we want to use where with a preposition, we have to change it to "preposition + which/that".

Ex: The city has not changed much. I lived there for five years.

The city where I lived for five years has not changed much.

The city in which I lived for five years has not changed much.

But I just learned that we can use preposition with "where" in some situations. In my source book, they gave just 2 examples about that;

1) There are many websites from where you can download free aplications.

2) We stood on the top of a hill from where we could see the picturesque view of the city.

Is "from" the only preposition that we can use with where?

Comments

  • @cenkerkaragoz, the word where does various jobs in English.
    In each use it introduces a CLAUSE which makes reference to PLACE in some way.
    The basic uses are

    • Asking a question — Where is the place?
    • Talking about an implied question — I know where the place is.
    • Relating to a NOUN — the place where he lives

    But PLACE expressions come in two varieties

    1. single LOCATION
    2. change of location

    So we use where for

    1. one LOCATION — Where does he live?
    2. change to GOAL — Where is he going?

    Some languages have a different word for referring to a GOAL.
    English has the word whither, but we hardly ever use it in Present Day English.
    So how do we know whether the speaker/writer is referring to a LOCATION or a GOAL?
    We understand because of the meaning of the CLAUSE — usually the meaning of the verb.
    This works for all uses of where:

    Where do you live? Where are you going?
    I know where you live. I know where you're going.
    This is the place where he lives. This is the place where he's going

    In all six sentences, there is no need for a preposition

    where shows that the clause refers to PLACE
    • the meaning of the VERB shows whether it refers to LOCATION or GOAL

    This doesn't mean that you must never have a preposition before where

    • People sometimes add an unnecessary preposition
    Where are you going to?

    • A sentence may express GOAL in one clause and LOCATION in another
    He's going to where she lives.

    • When the relative clause is NON-RESTRICTIVE — the sort that's separated by commas —
    people sometimes use a preposition,
    It's a terrible place, to where many are forced to go.

    So, it's not exclusively true, but more often than not where means one of two things:
    'at which place' or 'to which place'.

    But change of location can also be change from SOURCE.
    English had the word whence, but, like whither, it's hardly used in Present Day English.
    We use the same verbs for change from SOURCE as change to GOAL.
    So we us from where to introduce the clause.

    We can add three example sentences to the six above

    • LOCATION_ — Where do you live?
    GOAL — Where are you going? _
    SOURCE — From where have you come? / Where have you come from?

    • LOCATION — I know where you live.
    GOAL — I know where you're going.
    SOURCE — I know where you've come from

    • LOCATION — This is the place where he lives.
    GOAL — This is the place where he's going.
    SOURCE — This is the place from where he's come. / This is the place where he's come from.

    Note that in short sentences like this from is usually moved to the end of the clause.
    Your examples sound OK with from where because the second clause in long in each sentence:

    There are many websites from where you can download free applications.
    We stood on the top of a hill from where we could see the picturesque view of the city.

    These three meanings LOCATION, GOAL and SOURCE are basic in English.
    The prepositions in, at, to, from may express just one of those meanings.
    But most other PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE express another meaning as well as one of these.
    That's why they usually don't combine with where — although it's not impossible.

    Some would say that it's grammatical but bad style to say or write:
    Above where is the flag? Over where is the plane flying? Into where have we come?

    It sounds a bit better with the proposition moved to the end, but still many would think it bad style.
    Where is the flag above? Where is the plane flying over? Where have we come into?

    But I think it's alway OK with two place expressions.
    There was a flag above where they met. The plane flew over where the people lived. He came into the room where we were sitting.

    With RELATIVE place expressions, which sounds better stylistically than where.
    the house over which / ?where the flag was ... the fields over which / ?where the plane flew ... the room into which /?where he came.

    So I wouldn't say

    If we want to use where with a preposition, we have to change it to "preposition + which/that".

    because we don't always have to.
    But yes, it's safer to avoid preposition of place before where in relative clauses — with the exception of from.

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