If ‘and’ or ‘but’ can be a sentence starter?

Many of us, all through our years of education, were taught how improper it is to start a sentence with either ‘and’ or ‘but’. The truth, however, is that there is no grammar rule that prohibits beginning a sentence with these two conjunctions. In fact, this is one of the most common myths surrounding English grammar.

Starting sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’ has been a very old practice (dates back to the tenth century). I’m sure many grammar buffs will hate to use conjunctions to start a sentence because they feel conjunctions create an incomplete thought. But although I am a grammar buff myself, I still don’t mind trying grammar in its variety if it makes sense. (Don’t miss my last sentence that starts with ‘but’ ;).)

Conjunctions are words that join clauses, words, phrases or sentences. When we use ‘and’ or ‘but’ first in a sentence, the reader’s attention is grabbed by the first word and its transitional function. So there’s nothing stopping you from going this way only if you pay some attention.

Is your sentence functioning if the opening conjunction is removed? If yes, don’t use it.
Will your sentence work better if connected to the previous one (the reason why you start your sentence with a conjunction)? Is the idea conveyed in two sentences better through a compound sentence? If yes, combine them.

So you understand the point I’m trying to make here. If the starting conjunction doesn’t help get across the point you’re making, just bid it adieu.

After all, you don’t want to complicate your writing, do you?

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#9 Diagramming sentences

Diagramming sentences – a pictorial representation of language. A beautiful art worth exploring!

diagramming sentences