Quick question about 'hence'?

Subject: Quick question about 'hence'?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 11:57:55 -0400

Johan Hiemstra wondered: <<I'm currently writing some articles about restoring cars, I just realized I tend to use 'hence' a lot in my writing. I think it just looks/fits better than 'so' for example. Just a personal preference I guess.>>

It may also reflect dialect differences between American- and British-influenced English. Here in Canada, I see "hence" used sufficiently often in place of "thus" or "therefore" that I have to assume that this is fairly standard usage. My American wife (also an editor) disagrees, saying that she found the word a bit formal and possibly antique for American usage. She also noted that like me, she wouldn't change it unless explicitly instructed to do so by a project's style guide.

<<I can use any of the other synonyms for "hence", but that feels a bit cheap and inconsistent. My actually question (being that English is not my mother's tongue): is 'hence' too old fashion or uncommon? I want to keep it simple because of the diverse audience.>>

If you're using the word enough that you yourself are finding that it stands out, then you should consider cutting down on the usage and using other wordings. (I find in my own writing that I have to let it sit for several days between revisions for such repetition to become apparent to me.) That advice doubly true if you're writing for an American audience, since my very limited editorial sample size (me and my wife <g>) suggests it may be less appropriate for Americans.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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