I thought I’d take a break from pontificating about grammar rules and share with you some of my favorite words that have gone the way of the whole two tin cans and a string thing—-except whenever I can work them into a conversation: hitherto and henceforth.
It’s not that these words aren’t used at all any more and actually need to be resurrected but, rather, they’re usually relegated to only the most formal writings, for example, legal documents and 200-page dissertations on the poetry of Chaucer.
I’m looking for people who want to start a grass-roots movement of using these words in everyday conversation that, I hope, will eventually swell into a national obsession. I have no persuasive argument for my passion except that both words just roll right off the tongue—-and most people think you’re really smart (or is it that they think you’re really old?) if you use them.
Hitherto means up to now or until this time, as in The mechanism for delaying plant cell death has been hitherto unknown or I’ve hitherto refrained from throwing this glass of water at you………but here it comes.
Henceforth means from now on, as in You will henceforth restrict your research to protein analysis or Henceforth, when you see me holding a glass of water, you might want to duck.