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My question is, is the use of the word "hence", used in it's most common sense as an alternative to "therefore", strictly acceptable in English usage in the following example:

I like bananas, hence why I eat them.

I see a lot of people using the word "why" after the word "hence", and I have always considered it, at the very least, inefficient use of English. Happy to find out other views. Many thanks for all comments.

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It appears that this construct used to be a lot more popular in the 1800s and continues to be used today. Going by Ngrams:

Google ngram for "hence why"

Excerpts: Barbara Heyman, 2012:

I looked at it later in 1922 with the idea of arranging it for violin, cello, and piano. Hence why we still call it the “Trio”.

Thomas A. Blackson, 2011:

The details of his pursuit were so undefined it was difficult to understand how the pursuit was supposed to work and hence why anyone should value it so highly.

Marcel Fafchamps, 2004

This may explain why the threat of stigmatization is largely ineffective against so-called informal sector firms which, as a rule, are not registered — and hence why transactions among informal sector firms remain quite unsophisticated.

In other words, this usage appears to be quite valid.

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I appreciate the response. I believe "hence" should be interchangeable with "therefore", in which case the bananas sentence wouldn't make sense but the Blackson and Fafchamps examples would (and the Heyman example wouldn't). – charles.abcam Aug 27 '12 at 12:40
@charles.abcam Hence originally meant from here/this point, as thence meant from there/that point. That’s why it can be used in this way. – tchrist Aug 27 '12 at 12:56
@tchrist - I think this is the beginning of a good answer and would be worth expanding as one. – neil Aug 27 '12 at 13:49
The statistical significance of the NGram points doesn't even rise to the level of a rounding error. Look at the Y axis. – Robusto Aug 27 '12 at 14:00
It also masks the different polysemes of hence. The Heyman quote could be recast Hence our retaining the original name the “Trio”. (if one allows the use of sentence fragments); the sense of hence here is, as tchrist says, from this point or from this source (AHDEL) or which is why (Huizhe) or this is the reason for. With this sense, Charles needs I like bananas, hence my eating them by the dozen. In calling the hence why string a structure, as Huizhe does, one is getting perilously close to claiming a cohesion that probably isn't there in most cases that are grammatical. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 27 '12 at 14:31

When you contrast @coleopterist's Ngrams research with the answers shared between every other Google result, it appears that "hence why" is a case of "incorrect, but nobody cares" similar to "quadrilogy" (which should use the Greek "tetra-" with the Greek "-logia" to form "tetralogy" but people have been getting it wrong since at least 1865 according to the OED).

Perhaps I haven't read enough older fiction, but my intuition has always agreed with the view that "hence why" is incorrect because it translates to "[that is the reason that] why".

However, my intuition did also lead me into conflict with a more pedantic friend over whether "hence why" is ever valid on technical grounds.

The use my intuition keeps claiming validity for is that "hence why X" makes sense as a short form of "hence my decision to X" (in contrast to "hence X", rendering the decision the primary subject of the clause, rather than the action taken as a result).

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