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The title isn't great, sorry, I couldn't really come up with anything better :D Here's a bit of context:

I'm working on my thesis and am currently writing down the historical evolution of a certain subject, and I got to a point where I wrote something like this:

[...], underlining the importance of Foo in order to achieve Bar.

Directly after that sentence, I want to express that the importance of Foo has been acknowledged many times after the writing I am referring to in the quoted sentence. I was thinking of something like this:

The importance of Foo has been henceforth acknowledged in many sources [...]

So my questions are:

  1. Is it even possible to use "henceforth" in this manner, and if so
  2. Is it still commonly used, especially in a scientific environment, or does it just sound terribly outdated
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Why on earth was this downvoted?!? :( –  x3ro Sep 11 '13 at 22:02
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Henceforth means "from here forward". With a present or present construction, it points the reader forward from the time of utterance. In your case, that would mean "from now forward", the present in which you write and your readers read. This is not, I think, what you want. The acknowledgements occurred before the present.

You could resolve this by casting your verb in the past, the time referred to, and saying "The importance of Foo was thenceforth acknowledged . . ."—thenceforth meaning "from there (i.e. then) forward". But while henceforth has a modest currency in academic and other highly formal writing, thenceforth has an inescapable odour of archaism. Again, not what you want.

I suggest KISS:

Since then, the importance of Foo has been acknowledged . . .

It's acceptable both formally and colloquially.

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+1 for the KISS advice. As both you and tchrist say, technically speaking OP should use thenceforth rather than henceforth, but in practice he'd be much better advised to use since then. –  FumbleFingers Oct 4 '12 at 13:57
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You appear to want thenceforth, because it means from there on forward — as oppoosed to henceforth, which means from here on forward.

OED says:

thenceforth /ˈðɛnsfɔɚθ/, /ðɛnsˈfɔɚθ/, adv.

Etymology: Orig. two words: thence and forth adv.

  1. From that time onward. Also with from (†fro).

    • C. 1374 Chaucer Boeth. iv. Pr. iii. 86 (Camb. MS.) ― For no wiht as by Ryht fro thennes forth þat hym lakketh goodnesse ne shal ben clepyd good.
    • 1526 Tindale John xix. 12 ― From thence forthe sought Pilate meanes to loose hym.
    • 1536 Wriothesley Chron. (Camden) I. 55 ― To be observed and kept from thencefourth through all this realme.
    • 1590 Spenser F.Q. I. ii. 40 ― Thensforth I tooke Duessa for my Dame.
    • 1812 Southey Omniana II. 231 ― He makes a law, that from thenceforth there shall be only two lawyers in England.
    • 1870 Morris Earthly Par. I. i. 396 ― Thenceforth her back upon the world she turned.
  2. From that place or point onward. rare.

    • C. 1449 Pecock Repr. V. xi. 540 ― Rede there and frothens forth into the eende of the argument.
    • 1887 Morris Odyss. XII. 429 ― Night-long thenceforth was I carried.
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Quite so. Though I would say that whereas I've no problem reading or writing "thenceforth", I wouldn't often expect to hear it. And I'm not sure I'd ever say it, except in "semi-facetious" contexts - where I'd probably mean spatial rather than temporal advance anyway. –  FumbleFingers Oct 4 '12 at 13:49
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