I am not unused to having to use the meta of an SE in order to figure out what I did wrong in asking a question, and what I can do better next time. This post is similar.

Here's the question I had asked: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/224290/hereby-referred-to-or-hereafter-referred-to

In a google search (for me at least), my question is one of the top results.

I think using this resource (full of crappy ads and other stuff, and one of the top results), I can make a guess that "hereafter" is the right choice, but to me at least, its not immediately clear that this is the case, because it does not refer to my specific usage case at all. I think I have often come across cases where I have seen sentences like "hereby referred to...".

Here's another top link, which seems to be something about Spanish rather than English.

Anyway, the assumption had still been tacitly made that I hadn't done any research. I think most people know that a google search is much faster than writing up an SE question.

I would also like to compare my question to this well received question: Word for someone who is "quietly reliable"

Looking at that question, I am even more confused as to why mine was closed. There doesn't seem to be any attempt at research ("I am sure there is a word for this...but I can't put my finger on it") -- for instance, a thesaurus could have been consulted, and subsequently a dictionary to see examples of usage. That's essentially what the answers are doing for the question. In any case, there are similar questions to that one (synonyms for honest) on E.SE, which make it more "commonly asked and answered" than mine, which has none.

I don't intend to criticize that question, I just intend to convey that it is at first glance, very similar to my question. So, why was my question closed, and what can I do to make it better?

2 Answers 2


In questions asking for help with straight-up definitions, people here like to hear that you've consulted a dictionary (several of which are listed on this page, which is linked to from the close reason) but still need help beyond what the dictionary can give you.

In this case, the dictionary definitions for the two words are sufficiently different from one another that you probably wouldn't need to ask here at all. If you still did, you would want to say something like "I've looked up both words in the dictionary and I don't understand how they are different." (The question would probably still get closed, because there is a small group of people here who zealously vote to close all questions they believe are "too basic," but if you've followed the rules and done your due diligence you would at least stand a good chance of getting it reopened.)

  • Thanks. Now I totally understand. For some reason, in my mind, I had assumed that hereby and hereafter basically meant the same thing (I mainly learn words by usage, or how they sound, not usually by consulting the dictionary -- native speaker, without formal grammar training). Once you mentioned that the definitions were sufficiently different, I looked up the definitions, and immediately saw my mistake (in asking the question). Thank! "Hereafter" it is, as well.
    – bzm3r
    Feb 4, 2015 at 20:08

Your question was closed because you didn't mention your research efforts. If you did research, please edit your question to reflect that and it will automatically enter the re-open queue. Some of what you mention in this question is appropriate to include in your post, as is a dictionary definition of each word. Try to be as specific as possible concerning why you aren't clear on which is correct.

As to the other question you mention, it's a single-word-request, which is a different type of question. We have specific rules for single word requests, so it's not a good comparison for your post. Take a look at this one instead for something closer to what we expect for a comparative meaning question.

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