Can You Start a Sentence With “Hence”?

The use of the word "hence" at the beginning of a sentence has sparked much debate among grammarians and language enthusiasts. Some argue that it is grammatically incorrect, while others hold that it's perfectly fine. This article delves into this topic, offering a balanced perspective and practical insights.

The Role of "Hence" in a Sentence

"Hence" is an adverb that traditionally means "from this place" or "from this time." However, in modern usage, it is more commonly used to denote a consequence or result. It serves to establish a logical connection between two points or ideas, often playing a similar role to words like "therefore" or "thus."

"Hence" is typically used to draw a conclusion from a previously stated fact or argument. It can also be used to indicate a future time from the present moment. For example, "Two weeks hence, we will celebrate our anniversary."

Instances Where Starting With "Hence" Works Well

When used correctly, "hence" can elegantly start a sentence, tying it seamlessly to the preceding thought. It's particularly suitable in formal writing and analytical contexts. Here are some examples of how "hence" can be effectively used to start a sentence:

Sentence Explanation
"Hence, we can conclude that the experiment was successful." The statement follows logically from a previous discussion about the experiment results.
"Hence the need for a thorough investigation." This indicates that the preceding sentences have explained why an investigation is necessary.
"Hence, it's important to continue the medication." This follows a previous explanation about the importance of the medicine.
"Hence his reluctance to join the team." This follows a statement or story explaining why someone might be reluctant to join.
"Hence, we suggest considering other options." This follows a discussion of why the current option might not be the best choice.

Instances Where Caution is Needed

Starting a sentence with "hence" can be tricky and potentially confusing if not done properly. It's crucial to ensure the sentence following "hence" logically flows from the previous statement. When "hence" is used incorrectly, it can disrupt the coherence of your writing.

Sentence Explanation
"Hence, the sky is blue." This statement doesn't logically follow from a previous idea.
"Hence, I will go shopping." Without context, it's unclear how this follows logically from a previous statement.
"Hence, the meeting is at 3 pm." This doesn't make sense without some preceding explanation.
"Hence, she painted the wall red." "Hence" is used incorrectly if there's no logical connection to a previous idea.
"Hence, he left the country." Without context or explanation, this usage of "hence" is confusing.

Tips for Using "Hence" at the Beginning of a Sentence

When using "hence" at the start of a sentence, it's key to ensure the statement follows logically from the preceding thought. Avoid using "hence" simply as a filler or transition word without a clear connection to the previous sentence.

  • Do use "hence" to show the consequence or result of a previously mentioned idea.
  • Don't use "hence" without a clear logical connection to the preceding sentence.
  • Do use "hence" to establish a future time from now.
  • Don't use "hence" interchangeably with words like "however" or "additionally."

Common Misconceptions and Myths

There are several misconceptions surrounding the use of "hence" at the beginning of a sentence. Let's debunk some of them:

  • Myth: "Hence" should never start a sentence.

Fact: It's perfectly acceptable to start a sentence with "hence," provided it logically follows from the preceding sentence.

  • Myth: "Hence" is archaic and should be avoided in modern writing.

Fact: While "hence" does have an old-fashioned ring to it, it's still used in formal writing and academic contexts.

  • Myth: "Hence" can be used interchangeably with any transition word.

Fact: "Hence" specifically indicates a logical conclusion or consequence and shouldn't be used as a general transition word.


To answer the initial question: Yes, you can start a sentence with "hence," but it must be done correctly. "Hence" should be used to indicate a logical connection between ideas, and it should only be used when the sentence logically follows from the preceding one. In summary, while using "hence" to start a sentence requires a bit of caution, it can add a touch of elegance and coherence to your writing when used correctly.

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