Glenn's diagnosis is that these examples arise by way of an attempt to "sound erudite" by adding an extra preposition at the start of a relative clause, thus yielding a formal-sounding collocation like "in which" without any valid grammatical license. He sees this as a hypercorrection along the lines satirized by James Thurber in his "Ladies' and Gentlemen's Guide to Modern English Usage":
The number of people who use "whom" and "who" wrongly is appalling. The problem is a difficult one and it is complicated by the importance of tone, or taste. Take the common expression, "Whom are you, anyways?" That is of course, strictly speaking, correct – and yet how formal, how stilted! The usage to be preferred in ordinary speech and writing is "Who are you, anyways?" "Whom" should be used in the nominative case only when a note of dignity or austerity is desired.
As discussed in "Back to the future, redundant preposition department" (5/4/2007) and "A phenomenon in which I'm starting to believe in" (5/14/2007), I'm not entirely sure that the extra-preposition examples are all errors, hypercorrect or otherwise — but Glenn's rational catalogue, drawn mostly from assignments submitted by his students, is a valuable step.
Below is a guest post by Glenn Bingham:
“Heavy Trace” Pied-Piping
In this set, instead of pre-posing the which and its proposition or else pre-posing the which and leaving the preposition behind, the preposition is copied so that it does both: fronts and stays behind. It is as though there is a need for more than a normal trace being left behind, so we might think of it as a “heavy trace.”
For each of the following, the P-which can be replaced with that. Alternatively, the separated P can be erased. Either result seems to produce a standard sentence.
Also let[‘]s not forget the atmosphere in which we live in.
I would like to start of[f] by saying I attempted to find an area of the essay "Defining God into Existence", in which I had a doubt in[;] however while researching, I was able to find an explanation.
If there are morals in which are in forms of commands then there must be a commander in which not everything is permissible.
The basic aim of moral philosophy is to come up with a standard principle on which all moral judgments are based on.
On the other hand I think that some things, like animals or humans do have a reason for existence for which I give the God to my understanding the credit for.
This seems to try to repeat the infinitive marker instead of a preposition, so fails one leg of the fix-up algorithm:
…[T]hey take on traits and actions to which leads them to become either good or evil.”
For this set of examples, the P-which can be replaced with that. The alternative, however, is to move the P that was stranded into the pre-which position, eliminating the random P originally associated with it. The first several use in which, but there is plenty of variety after that.
For this assignment, I chose unicorns to be my mythological character in which I am familiar with.
We must look at ourselves and the universe that surrounds us, while recognizing that this is the only evidence that exists at this point in time, whether it be for or against a higher power, this is the evidence in which we must apply our logic to.
It is an entity in which all things came from and will come from.
Both are two different argument types, but just about mean the same thing about where God can be found, a thought in which many ponder upon.
Heraclitus believed that fire was the primary element in which the earth was composed of.
But when people talk about judgment day it is believed that when god returns to earth he will judge if your time on earth was spent well and if that is the case you are supposed to be brought back to life in his kingdom in which he will be the king of.
There is a foundation of which our beliefs are built apon [sic].
These imperatives were based around a set [of] principles or rules to which all aspects had to agree with in order for them to be good by nature.
Seeing as how in the time of the day women were nothing more then an afterthought and thought of as silly little playthings for which men fought over to posses this myth gives women a power that men need.
Though, Anaximenes and Thales both were monists, their main difference was their stance on which primary substance was the source of which the earth was derived from.
So there was an explanation for the things at which he could not be certain about.
Conversely, hypothetical imperatives state that there is a particular goal for which we act on.
Thales believed that the substance out of which all living things came from was water.
Mxxx Rxxx Elementary School is one of three elementary schools in Fxxx Township. The school currently houses 446 students in grades 3 through 6. Our primary goal is to provide the children with a firm academic foundation with which they can build upon as seventh graders at Dxxx Regional Middle School.—Official school website
 A problem for the fixing suggestions:
It is an entity that all things came from and will come from.
?It is an entity from which all things came and will come.
?It is an entity from which all things came and will come from.
 This website has been recently edited. The school is now for grades 3 and 4, and the children are sent to another school for grades 5 and 6. The expression “with which they can build upon” remains intact.
The following example draws the which from an infinitive phrase, and as such does not meet the general rule. The alternative works, carrying the left-behind preposition to the front, producing …upon which to base…, but that does not settle into the which-P spot if vacated: *…arguments that to base the existence of God.
While reading the "Defining God into Existence" essay by Professor [Bxxx], I found there to be many insightful and weak arguments on which to base the existence of God upon.
Over-Formalized That Replacement
The following samples just have a stuffy, over-formalized form substituted for the normal that, so it amounts to a straight-forward hypercorrection. Several students admitted that these forms, especially in which, make the sentence sound more formal. Writers who whom who’s whether whoming is needed or not would be more inclined to add this embellishment as well. Note that the bulk of the replacements involve in which, but then some other random prepositions are inserted and then a couple of more complex varieties emerge.
In order to do this though they needed to respect the laws in which government made…
The one in which i felt i understood the most was The Universe is like a Vegetable.
He believed that air was the main source behind the way in which fire is created as well as water and earth.
I see a lot of uses like "a big, red house," in which my teachers 50-60 years ago would have circled the comma in red.
A person can be evil but it doesn't mean their nature is bad; sometimes people are born into a situation in which may change who we really are.
It’s probably the most comprehensible argument in which simply states there cannot be an infinite amount of causes towards an event….I believe the cosmological argument is a sound and simplistic argument in which is really easy to understand.
The ultimate goal in society was to reach this level of goodness in which he describes as happiness.
Scientific data and enlightenment have paved the way in which we think about the world in which we live. [The second occurrence is standard.]
God is supernatural in which is above and beyond normal natural phenomena,…
I believe we are all born with innateness, in which only takes us so far through life.
All of us want to be happy, therefore we usually do things that make us happy, such as eating food or having one more glass of wine, in which we know is bad for us but we do it just to have that moment of gratification.
As audience members, we tend to follow the direction in which our speaker is looking.
In today’s society, it seems as though there has been a large difference in the moral standards of the future generations compared to those in which many of us were raised with ourselves.
Selsberg's argument is that although teachers have taught their students to write lengthy papers with MLA style works cited pages, students would be much more efficient and interested in writing shorter assignments in which grab their attention and stay in tune to the world's conversation.
The very idea of this book is the philosophical question of, “do we have innate knowledge?" in which, those who do not believe that we are born with innate ideas, and human universals then lean towards what Pinker described as a political stand point.
Empiricists believe that the mind, upon its creation, is a “blank slate” for which we fill up through our experiences and senses.
Likewise, the attitude and setting of males and females within television advertising contributes to the commercials with which they represent, as well as the frequency of viewing.
I believe teleology is a vessel of which welcomes growth and limitless queries to understanding a World from a human stance.
Contingency – all things which exist in nature are contingent which means there must exist something of which is necessary.
If you explore this theory a bit deeper Empedocles explains that in the beginning of time there was a mix of species and sexes from which you could not tell apart.
You say that you want us to find insightful parts that we enjoy and then to find any parts by which we believe are weak.
How does one get others, whom of which are not deep thinkers, to see things in the same manner?
In a way the two relate because to form water there needs to be particles that of which make up the substance of water that then creates the other beings in Thales words.
The soul desires appetite for in which it has some type or form of satisfaction[:] [t]he appetite for in which we desire or are hungry for obtaining that certain thing.
Can’t decide? Use both.
There is no point to reach for that of which is beyond us as humans.
Unnecessary Adornment of Infinitives
The alternative is to leave "in which" out:
My argument, primarily a posteriori, would be, without our existing design of our bodies scientists would not be able to replicate it and furthermore if our design was not perfect scientists would not duplicate organs but would be searching for more beneficial counter parts in which to replace them.
They mapped out a way in which to predict the revolutions of the planets and our sun, though the work involved was incredibly complicated.
In the following sentence, the first in which should be that, and the second one should be for whom.. It seems that the proper forms were just replaced with an formal-sounding string without regard to the meaning.
If there are morals in which are in forms of commands then there must be a commander in which not everything is permissible (existence-of-god).
If in which is better than that, probably in where is even better than in which, right?
This idea is consistent with the cosmological argument in where everything that exists has a cause.
Random impossible P
Here someone is apparently aiming for that elusive note of dignity and austerity by expressing "which is impossible to do" as "to which is impossible":
To attain the EXACT amount of calories, you would have to weigh off each ingredient grain by grain, to which is impossible.
Since preposition+wh-word combinations are common in formal written English but rare in speech, many people apparently conclude that they should sprinkle quasi-random instances in their writing in order to make it seem more writerly. In some cases, the result is grammatical but unnecessarily formal; in many other cases, the result is an ungrammatical hypercorrection, or an echo of archaic usage that is no longer part of the standard language.
Above is a guest post by Glenn Bingham