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Hence – IELTS word of the day

Today’s word from the academic word list is



This is one of the most formal words in the Academic Word List and one that, I believe, needs to be used with extreme care. Very often your writing will be better for using “plainer” language that is easier for the reader to understand. Put another way, the word is increasingly “old-fashioned” and it looks strange unless the rest of your writing is similarly formal.

It is most often used as an adverb to start a sentence or clause and show a connection with what you have just written. Used in this way it is similar in meaning to thus/therefore

hence = for this reason = therefore

This is a usage that I do not personally recommend. Look at this sentence

Many governments have failed to invest in education; hence standards in schools are falling.

My personal preference would be for

The falling standards in schools has been caused by the governments’ failure to invest in education


The failure of governments to invest in education has led to the fall in standards in many schools

Why do I prefer these? The causal connection is much clearer. The language is clearer.

hence = from now

This is a slightly different (and more accurate) usage. Look at these examples:

five years hence

This means the same as

in five years time


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2 Responses to Hence – IELTS word of the day

  1. mahdi March 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    more example please

    • Dominic Cole March 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      Okay. I will be updating my word of the series. Thank you for the feedback.

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