By Matt Vicker
Now you may be thinking: “Hang on a minute, Matt, ‘aforementioned’ is not unusual – I use it all the time.” I would respond with: “Ah, you’re right.” (I’m not going to argue with you!) ‘Aforementioned’ is, however, interesting (well to me, in my idiolect, at least). It means that something has been ‘previously mentioned, esp. in a text’ (OED, where else?) and I have been using it as a get-out clause in making a reference in essays and exams since I can remember having to write essays and exams. It’s a word that can avoid you the hassle of re-writing out the same point that you’ve made before and it adds a certain variety to the vocabulary that you use.
As the aforementioned OED definition says (see what I did there?), it applies particularly to a text – it’s is really difficult to put into everyday spoken conversation. It could be that it is too formal to be used or that it is just as easy to say, ‘as I said earlier’ or ‘as previously mentioned’. Can we say: ‘now we are back on the aforementioned topic of *something random and humourous*‘ or does that just sound odd? In that sort of situation I am most likely to say: ‘now we’re back on *something random and humourous*‘. I make that a challenge to you, subtly drop ‘aforementioned’ into a conversation and see if you can pull it off. Let me know of your successes and/or failures in the comments!
The OED entry for ‘aforementioned’: http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/317604?redirectedFrom=aforementioned#eid