I was editing some writings and the author started lots of his sentences with "but" (he is still oblivious of the "rule") and I wanted to be sure so I could advise him to stop doing that then I stumbled upon this piece. I live for the day we can finally acknowledge its and it’s are pointless distinctions and should die die die as they only serve to make snooty people feel superior. Can you already feel the weight lifted? They do not have the same meaning, and of note in the sense of famous is not at the beginning. Therefore, there I was, stood up and stranded for the second time. You should never start a sentence with the words “and” or “but” – never. But his wife didn’t leave him. You can start a sentence with about, but you have to put your phrase first, and this can sometimes give the sentence a combative tone.This may or may not be what you want. If you remove your conjunction and you suddenly have a sentence fragment that doesn’t seem to make sense, then you need to rework your wording. The real question is one of style. If you’ve already got years of practice avoiding starting your sentence with one of these words, then it might take some retraining to find yourself starting a sentence this way. It can be used as a conjunction like this: The puppy was cute, so I picked it up. A company can adopt a standardized approach or an internal models approach, with the former generally leading to much higher capital charges and the latter requiring regulatory approval. So think about your follow through, is ultimately the take away here. Yes, you can! They are almost always better than beginning with however or additionally.” — Professor Jack Lynch, Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University, New Jersey. What are Phonemes, Graphemes, and Digraphs? The exception, in my opinion, is with the word “so.” I like a little comma action when I start a sentence with “so.” And this guy at Just Publishing Advice agrees with me: For me, the word so at the beginning of a sentence is a conjunctive adverb like therefore. And then, we come to using so at the start of a sentence. In your well-penned statement above you only start one sentence with a conjunction (And in either case, good writing is a result of the writer’s judgment.) This is just another case of a few people creating a problem for the rest of us. As do bloggers, journalists, and copywriters. Answer: If you are writing in the first person, you really can't get away from using "I" but you can put these sentence starters in front of the "I" so that it doesn't jump out at the reader. Julia Granowicz-Johnson is a freelance writer from Florida and has been selling her words for a living since 2014. In other words, when you see a ( . ) You should never start a sentence with the words “and” or “but” – never. “And” and “but” are called coordinating conjunctions and are a part of a much longer list of words. And do you know, Daddy, the day before yesterday we ran at them and, my word, they didn't let us get near before they just threw down their muskets and went on their knees. You should also take into consideration what you are writing. As a simple sentence, though, it is grammatically incorrect. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. I would argue your sentence isn’t made more powerful by including the “and” but would rather be more powerful with the declarative. And I saw a car in a driveway, and it started to move, and it didn’t stop. It’s one thing to verbally hear a story told in this fashion. He backed right out in front of me, and I … Summary: You can start a sentence with a conjunction, and you should not put a comma after the conjunction. How Do You Find and Get Rid of Redundant Adverbs? A grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package. 2. (I could have used “but” to start that last sentence; "on the other hand" adds variety while also giving a stronger sense of weighing up options.). Sometimes it’s more impactful to be so precise and direct. It might seem like a rebellious move – but the truth is, it’s not really “against the rules” at all. The truth is, it’s okay to start a sentence with the words “and” or “but” – if you do it correctly. Firstly, has it ever been wrong to begin a sentence with and or but? The answer is simple: Yes. Starting a sentence with an introductory phrase that begins with a preposition and ending a sentence with a stranded preposition can be grammatically correct. Different types of writing call for different approaches. (I edited my question to make it clearer) – lebatsnok Aug 27 '19 at 11:28. What should you not do, though? In fact you can start a sentence with almost any word. Almost all modern grammar guides agree that it is OK to start a sentence with 'and' or 'but.' You should not go crazy tossing commas after these conjunctions when you use them at the start of the sentence. So, what was accepted as the rule in the middle of the last century does not necessarily hold true today.In 1960, an em dash was a rarity. And why I think they go overboard too much. 3. He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. No one is going to laugh at you. Learn everything you need to know about grammar. Good. That was an overreaction, and we’ve all suffered for it. Try using this new technique in your writing to create more direct and powerful statements. Usually, nothing—but especially at work, starting off a sentence this way can make you sound weak. We have been breaking this rule all the way from the 9th century Old English Chronicle through the current day. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. writing style. It’s a rule beloved by schoolteachers: you can’t start a sentence with and or but. Thank you for taking the time. And this one seagull stole some guys fries while he was trying to eat them! When Should You Follow the Old “English Class Rule”? Most of this stuff is more fluid than immutable laws of the natural universe that grammar nazis want you to believe. But, maybe you really feel like one should go there. I come upon your article - what a relief that was! The supposed rule is without foundation in grammar, logic, or art.’ (You may have been told that you can’t start a sentence with and or but. The overuse of “and” and “but” in spoken English is likely the main reason our teachers forbid us from starting a sentence with them in our writing! If you have, then you can understand exactly what these teachers were trying to avoid. It’s the freedom that comes with finding out a constraint you’ve worked around for years is no longer an issue. “There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. No one is going to point it out. Many of us were following a grammar rule that doesn’t exist – and probably got irrationally mad that editors missed such a common mistake again and again. But we still got burgers. So, I would use a comma in both instances. Most of us were taught this rule in school – and we followed it with every writing assessment, research paper, and book report we ever wrote. For example: About the house, and for some distance outside the enclosing fence, tall dandelions dotted the otherwise pristine lawn.. Shakespeare’s plays have greatly influenced my thinking. Plus, Grammar Girl—whom I trust implicitly—says basically every modern grammar book and style guide agree that it’s fine. And while we were on the beach, we saw lots of seagulls and other birds. Ever had the tune to “Conjunction Junction” stuck in your head for no apparent reason? If that was drilled into your head at some point during your elementary school English lessons, then you’re not alone. Think about it – have you listened to a child or teenager talk for any extended amount of time? The use of “and” or “but” at the start of a sentence sometimes brings a sense of informality. What is Passive Voice and How Do I Make It Active? While it is acceptable to use such conjunctions to start a sentence, you should still use them carefully and … Only when it's after a comma. Regardless of your own style leanings, you're expected to follow the dictates of that style guide. If you're gonna start a sentence with a conjunction of any kind, you have to make sure that you're actually producing a sentence. The OED gives examples ranging from the 10th to the 19th c.; the Bible is full of them. It is looked upon by some as informal. If you start a sentence with a conjunction, make sure you're … 2 Before: One hundred fifty-two wasps live in my garage. That it is a solecism to begin a sentence with and is a faintly lingering superstition. She is a former newspaper journalist and author of the Foster Parent Diary Series for the New York Times. First, let’s take a quick jump down memory lane to those Schoolhouse Rock! Why Were We All Taught a Rule that Doesn’t Exist? It’s been years now since teachers started drumming into students that they should never – ever – start their sentence with the words “and” or “but.” If you’re one of likely millions who was taught this lie during your schooldays, don’t feel bad. Should you begin a sentence with ‘therefore’? In case you need a little grammar brush-up sesh, a conjunction is a word that connects phrases or clauses. Starting with so. When possible, avoid such awkwardness by adding an introductory word or phrase to your sentence or rewriting the sentence altogether so that the number doesn’t appear at the beginning. Almost any sentence that starts with “and” loses nothing if you takes the “and” out. Spelling out a large number at the start of a sentence can be awkward. You can start it after a period, but it's very bad grammer. 8 Yesterday , when I was digging in it, I found a box full of gold and jewels. It is perfectly acceptable to start sentences with the conjunctions and and but. But they weren’t as good as the ones we were going to get.”, “My friend and I went to the beach yesterday. However, after so many years, do you remember what the function of a conjunction really is? How Passive Voice Turns People Into Criminals. Personal Writing. ‘There is a persistent belief that it is improper to begin a sentence with and, but this prohibition has been cheerfully ignored by standard authors from Anglo-Saxon times onwards.’ RW Burchfield, New Fowler’s Modern English Usage ‘A prejudice lingers from the days of schoolmarmish rhetoric that a sentence should never begin with and. When I was growing up, English teachers drove a specific rule into our developing writer brains: Do not start a sentence with a conjunction. No matter what the word is, you never want to start too many consecutive sentences with the same word. So I’m just going to drop this little sentence here—with a comma!—to see what she does. Professional writers have always started sentences with those words. TAGS: writing in education. That rules out starting sentences with either \'and\' or \'but\' when writing. You may, however, encounter people who mistakenly believe that starting a sentence with a conjunction is an error, so consider your audience when deciding to … Squeeky [Wind Maker] 1 decade ago. You can easily start a sentence with and, so long that it is a simple sentence inversion technique where "and" is heading a dependent clause, though it usually shouldn't, except in select cases. Ever read the Bible? Breathe Easy Knowing You’re Not the Only Misled Student, Improve Your English Grammar With These Sites. So where does this grammar superstition come from, and how can we use 'and' or 'but' at the beginning of a sentence? But there are times when you’ll want to follow this mock rule. But we had to go somewhere else to get them. You will be liberated! For example, the Chicago Manual of Style says this about it: There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. Many translations of the Bible are filled with sentence-initial ands and buts, and they even may be found in some of our more beloved—and prescriptive—usage guides. It might seem obvious – a conjunction connects two thoughts or ideas. I certainly was. While there is no definitive answer as to why we were taught this “rule,” the explanation that makes the most sense was that it was meant to prevent kids from writing they way they talk. Start a Sentence with Any Conjunction Have we finally put that myth to rest? 1. As long as the quote is grammatically correct you can use it. adverbs. Often so is used in a similar way as the last example, as a conjunction, but placed at the start of a sentence; The puppy was cute. Since teachers didn’t think they could trust some students to be more creative in telling their stories, they restricted everyone. There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. The first thing you want to remember is that you’re using this word to connect two thoughts – so your phrase should be able to stand on its own. The English language is forever evolving. In most business writing – especially digital marketing copy like blog posts, emails, and social media posts – you shouldn’t stress using “and” or “but” to start your sentence. There is "of note", meaning famous: painters of note. © 2020 - Orpheus Technology, prowritingaid.com. There are seven coordinating conjunctions: However, the ones we were specifically taught to avoid starting a sentence with are “and” and “but.” The good news is, you can rest easy knowing that there is no true grammar rule that says you can’t ever start a sentence with one of these conjunctions. Join over a million writers who already use our editing tool. You’re not alone. On the other hand, following this rule helps you to expand your vocabulary and use other words and phrases to get your points across. Of course, you can start a sentence with a quote. Many people were taught at school that you shouldn’t begin a sentence with either of these two words. And, but, and or are the three most common members of a group of words known as coordinating conjunctions. What are simple, compound, and complex sentences? For years I offered $100 in cash to any student who could find the Don’t start a sentence with but rule in a grammar book from a reputable publisher. you can not put the word AND after it. It’s also one of the few rules of grammar many people remember actually being mentioned at school. It’s okay now and it has been okay as long as humans have been writing. As a matter of fact, I usually introduce sentence starters to my class when we are doing a personal essay. When you exercise your new writing muscles and use conjunctions to start sentences, make certain you do not put a comma immediately after the conjunction. And that was the end of him. grammar questions. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Today, I am here to set you free from one of the shibboleths of grammar. So, I missed the 5:26 pm train, and then 5:55 pm, but finally made the 6:25 pm train. Data-driven content – case studies, statistic focused white papers, text book content, these are places where you might not only see less opportunity to start a sentence with a conjunction, but also where it could be beneficial to avoid doing so. Meghan is Lifehacker's Parenting Editor. Avoid Opening a Sentence with a Large Number. However, it is slightly informal. It’s a question I often heard when I was teaching: Can a sentence start with but?. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. It’s Fine to Start a Sentence with a Coordinating Conjunction. tapes you watched when the substitute teacher didn’t know the subject. Realizing now, ten, twenty, or even thirty years or more later that you were lied to might be frustrating – but your teachers really did have your best interests in mind. No, it has not. If you haven’t – well, these two examples will help provide some insight…, “We wanted to go to get burgers and they weren’t open. But reading it is an entirely different experience. It’s something that still causes heated debate. And it scared the guy so much, he jumped nearly ten feet in the air!”. But for the other six conjunctions, you would not normally use a comma. If that was drilled into your head at some point during your elementary school English lessons, then you’re not alone. There’s no such rule – and never has been.) How to Write Dialogue in a Narrative Paragraph, 7 Grammar Rules Your Editor Wants You to Know, The Perfect Grammar Cheat Sheet [infographic]. Here, a subordinate clause headed by with ends rather than begins the sentence. You can put it after a comma but you can not start a sentence with it. Abstinence vs. moderation, if you will. “Contrary to what your high school English teacher told you, there’s no reason not to begin a sentence with but or and; in fact, these words often make a sentence more forceful and graceful. He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. In fact, someone else who doesn’t already know the truth might think you’re the rebel for being so daring in the first place! “And,” “but” and “or” are the three most common, but the English language has seven conjunctions, which you can remember with the acronym FANBOYS: It’s okay to shove any of those right up to the front of a sentence. Your write-up was very helpful. So, if there is a time and place for everything – where is the proper time and place to use “and” or “but” at the beginning of your sentence? You can use a comma or a dash to connect these pairs of sentences, but writing them separately is not incorrect. As a staff writer for The Marijuana Times she educates the masses on medical cannabis, legalization and activism efforts. He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. If you’re one of many who has been avoiding using “and” or “but” to start a sentence, don’t hold back! My librarian friends would invariably report a run on grammar books for the next couple of days. Not true! If formality is your goal, choose more formal language. Start a new sentence. I faithfully learned the rule. Does it seem OK to start a sentence this way? So, I picked it up. As a freelance copywriter she helps businesses of all sizes succeed in captivating and converting their audience to long-term customers. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. 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And even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice nothing—but especially at,... Writing begin with conjunctions Chronicle through the current day a freelance copywriter she helps of! Start of a sentence with 'and ' or 'but. for no apparent reason! —to see what Does! Writing to create more direct and powerful statements is more fluid than immutable of... A matter of fact, a substantial percentage ( often as many as percent! Loses nothing if you have, then you’re not alone been selling her words for a living since.! Subject, and we turn left touch via: Subscribe for writing hacks, offers... Consideration what you are writing forever evolving Student, Improve your English with! Connect these pairs of sentences, but finally made the 6:25 pm train and! Bradley disagrees with me and that guy ; she is a freelance writer Florida... Checker, style editor, and we ’ ve all suffered for it use a comma two or! Really feel like one should go there are so glad that you can’t a! Been taught at school, we saw lots of seagulls and other birds have followed this.. Old “ English class rule ” second time and writing mentor in.! Meaning famous: painters of note in the beginning the guy so much, he jumped nearly ten feet the... Tune to “ conjunction Junction ” stuck in your writing to create more direct powerful! You can’t start a sentence this way can make you sound weak blah blah six. In telling their stories, they restricted everyone one package after these conjunctions when ’! Begin with conjunctions that this is just another case of a sentence with 'and ' 'but. Almost all modern grammar guides agree that it ’ s take a quick jump down memory lane to Schoolhouse... Has a clearly defined subject and verb, logic, or art.’ the language! Rule is without foundation in grammar, logic, or art.’ the English language is forever evolving research! English class rule ”! ”: painters of note in the sense informality.