Sunday, April 8, 2012


Faster than a speeding bullet, more reliably than my muse, a/k/a The Wench, Grammar Guru has returned.  I had not seen her in the longest time.  Usually when that happens she has gone skipping off with The Wench.  But whereas Wenchie usually has the decency to return (usually), Guru has been known to trek off upstream in frigid waters, throwing hounds off the scent and only emerging miles later on arid, stony ground where the keenest nose has trouble tracking her.  Then, one can only leave a trap furnished with grammatical bait in the hope that she may venture inside and trigger the catch mechanism--WHAM, gotcha.

But Guru is a poet and you cannot--dare not--misuse a poetic phrase or word without enticing her.  I knew this one could hardly fail, like tuna to a starving cat or cat chow to raccoons.  And I was right.  Or write, depending on your point of view.  I haven't seen Guru this excited in years.  And what, you might ask, inspired this fit of enthusiasm? It was....ta-da, curtain, please...


Hence:  adverb (archaic) for 1) from this place - away; 2) from this time - forward 

Since:  adverb for 1) from a definite past time until now; 2) before the present time

Therefore, if you want to say someone died two years hence, unless you're clairvoyant, don't try it.  Probably you don't want to try writing poetry, either, or hanging out with poets.  If you want to use the poetic or archaic voice, say they died two years since.  Then we'll know what you mean.   :)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Kate Hofman for her suggestion that I clarify the use of "whence." So while I'm at it, Kate...

    Whence: adverb meaning "from what place." Therefore, the common practice of prefacing "whence" with "from" is incorrect. "From" is implied and therefore redundant!

    Correct: We saw whence it came.
    Incorrect: We saw from whence it came.