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You must have been wondering when to punctuate “hence” with an after-comma that’s why you’re here.
Well, worry no more because we’ve got you covered. Hope this post helps you with your slight perplexity on this topic.
When should we place a comma after “hence”?
A comma after “hence” is generally seen in three different circumstances. First, this happens when “hence” is used as an introductory element or conjunctive adverb at the beginning of the sentence. Next is when hence is used as a parenthetical word insertion mid-sentence. Lastly, a post-comma is also necessary when it is used after a semi-colon, still, as a conjunctive adverb linking the second clause to the main one.
Understanding the meaning, function, and usage of “hence”
“Hence” generally means “as a result or consequence of something” or “for this reason.”
It is most likely used as a conjunctive adverb, an adverb that looks like a conjunction, that serves as a tool for a cohesive and concise transition of ideas.
In another sense, still an adverb though, it could also mean “from now” or “later” that may be added after a time-related expression.
Since “hence” is a conjunctive adverb, its main role in sentences is to help link two ideas together, but it cannot directly link two clauses.
This means that “hence” is oftentimes paired with the coordinating conjunction “and” at the second part of the sentence.
Or, it may also be used as an introductory element to a parenthetical expression towards the end of the sentence, which we will tackle more later.
Also, you may want to note that using “hence” would likely denote a rather formal tone, as opposed to casual, so use it sparingly.
Be careful not to use or at least overuse it in an essay that aims to discuss your hobbies, interests, or most embarrassing experience.
Use it instead when writing about the socioeconomic repercussions of the pandemic or the moral dilemma of euthanasia.
Now that we’ve learned how to use “hence,” let’s move on to the post-comma usage.
Punctuating “hence” with an after-comma in ample detail
Contrary to the common belief that comma rules are made of cast iron, this is definitely not the case.
A comma is simply like a person full of face and neck tattoos who actually is just a Mountain Dew-obsessed stand-up comedian.
(No way! Since when did Shayne Smith become a punctuation mark?)
Well, digressive analogy aside, what I’m trying to put across is that commas are harmless symbols whose job is simply to disambiguate meaning.
They are also used to create rhythm and emphasis in our heavily-loaded, convoluted sentences.
Please consider these things in making sense of the next subsections.
So when exactly should we put a comma after “hence?”
When “hence” is used as the only introductory element
As previously mentioned, “hence” could be used as a conjunctive adverb which means we can also put it at the beginning of a sentence to introduce a conclusive argument.
Since “hence” indicates some form of result in its conjunctive adverb sense, we would need a preliminary proposition or a premise before it.
Look at the example.
In the example above, the second sentence is slightly complex and lengthy, so the comma placement makes it less crowded and easier to read.
However, the comma may be optionally omitted when the second idea is shorter in order to create a more neutralized tone.
Again, comma placement is a matter of style rather than rule; therefore, the writer is free to choose whether to insert a comma or not so long as readability is still taken care of.
When “hence” is used as the last word in a mid-sentence parenthesis
A parenthesis is a word, phrase, fragment, or clause added to create more meaning and emphasis to a sentence.
It is a stylistic rhetorical device that is free from syntactic rules taken by the original sentence per se.
This means that despite discarding or removing it from a sentence, the remaining parts will still make complete grammatical sense.
Parenthetical expressions must be signaled by a post or a pre-comma when inserted at the beginning or end of a sentence.
And, they must be encapsulated with two commas if they come midway, which is the most applicable structure for “hence.”
It was noted earlier that the conjunction “and” is often used with “hence,” which has been the case with the above example.
Similarly, the commas encapsulating “hence” may be conveniently removed if the intent is to make the sentence more formal and neutral.
When “hence” is used after a semicolon
Semicolons, like commas, serve a special function in building sentences, and you may refer to our other post covering this topic in further detail here.
In a nutshell, though, semicolons can be used to signal a halt shorter than a period yet longer than a comma does.
This punctuation mark can be either used in segregating a complex serial list or conjoining two independent clauses minus the use of a conjunction.
This means that “hence,” when used after a semicolon, may also prompt an after-comma if the writer opts to do so.
Although still omissible in the statement above, the post-hence comma is recommended since the second clause is made up of multiple ideas.
The incorrect way of placing a comma after “hence”
To make things easier to digest, let us also look at the cases that would make an after-comma incorrect, or in some cases, unnecessary.
I have also written down two important guidelines that could help in your comma decisions.
When “hence” is used to mean “from now”
In the third section of this post, namely, the third one, it was stated that “hence” could also mean “from now” or “later” when placed after time expressions.
Should this be your intent in writing, do not use a comma before and after “hence” unless the time expression is meant to be the introductory element of the sentence.
And, to illustrate the other point mentioned, here’s a paraphrased structure using the time expression at the beginning.
Also, note again that using “hence” increases the formality of either a spoken or written statement, so context has to be always considered.
When “hence” causes a weak interruption
Finally, “hence” may cause a rather weak interruption when used in shorter arguments.
More particularly, encapsulating “hence” with commas in short sentences emphasizes the word more, as opposed to the intended information, and thus must be avoided.
Although the sentence lacks some context, we can immediately deduce that the name of the person being referred to may sound uncommon or unfamiliar.
Frequently Asked Questions on Comma After Hence
How do we use “hence” in a sentence?
“Hence” has multiple meanings but its most common one denotes “for this reason” or “as a result.” We can use it as a conjunctive adverb to connect a conclusion to an initial argument. “All flights from Hawaii have been canceled due to the storm, hence the delegates will not be able to attend the conference.”
What is the difference between “hence” and “thus?”
Even though both words can be used as conjunctive adverbs to introduce some conclusion to an initial argument, they may also differ in another sense. While “hence” can be used to mean “from now” as in “two years hence,” “thus” may also be used to denote the meaning of “like this” or “in this way” as in “do it thus.”
Can we use a noun after “hence?”
Yes, particularly in making sentences more concise. When a noun or noun phrase subsequently follows “hence,” it is generally used as a default replacement for the phrase “which is why” such as in: “Mishka’s parents are from India, hence the name.” If we are to make the sentence more complete, it would more or less be, “Mishka’s parents are from India, which is why her name is not familiar to us.”
Using “hence” accordingly increases writing efficacy, whereas appropriate punctuation makes the written output even more intricate.
However, the context in which these devices are used needs to be considered as well, so as not to propel any unnecessary criticism, not to mention red marks or revisions.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.