Starting a sentence with And or But

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
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Christina Rose
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Re: Starting a sentence with And or But

Post by Christina Rose » 14 Aug 2017, 01:43

That is what I learned in school as well. However, if I think the sentence structure benefits from the use of and or but as the first word, then I am not going to stress about rewording it. This is not how I have always felt, though. I was uncomfortable with going against this basic grammar rule for the longest time.

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Samuel Waragu
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Post by Samuel Waragu » 14 Aug 2017, 02:41

You are not alone on this. Many are the times i too had to do away with using the words at the start of a sentence but i would feel bad eventually. i finally had to stick to my habit and i must say that it is irresistible

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Kat Kennedy
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Post by Kat Kennedy » 31 Oct 2017, 18:47

This is one of those rules that has changed. As I have told students in the past, if your boss or professor says not to, then don’t.
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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes » 31 Oct 2017, 19:12

The readability of the Bible is not contestable. Many scholars uphold it as such. And I agree. But now, comes the argument about the use of "but" and "and" to begin a sentence. The Bible makes use of it.

But in scientific journals, technical writings, the better discretion might be to refrain from using these two when starting a sentence.
"In the beginning was the word.........John 1:1"

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Post by kislany » 03 Nov 2017, 01:45

Bit late to the topic, but starting sentences with a coordinating conjunction is certainly ok these days. Merriam Webster, the Oxford Dictionaries, CMOS, Garner’s Modern American Usage, Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Collins Dictionary, The Guardian and Observer Style, even The Elements of Style by Strunk Jr. & E. B. White say it's ok. The only person has ever told me it's not ok was my English teacher. And I certainly respect the above-mentioned entities more than the old rigid teacher who was hitting my fingers with a ruler every time I would misspell a word. (Yes, I used "And" here on purpose.)

Btw, here is a fun quote by Merriam-Webster about it. I mean, where do we stop?
Some people may remember learning the mnemonic FANBOYS when studying the coordinating conjunctions for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. And some instructors also still use this as means of explaining which words should not be given the chance to lead the parade. But it's slightly ridiculous to insist that these words should never be used to begin a sentence, when a thousand years of English writing has shown this to be a fine way to start off.

If you’re going to create a silly-sounding acronym to list these words, then go whole-hog and list all of the words that schoolchildren have been told not to put at the beginnings of sentences over the past 200 years. We crafted one for you that helpfully looks like a web address: WWWFLASHYBONNBAN, which stands, obviously, for whether, well, why, for, likewise, and, so, however, yet, but, or, nor, now, because, also, nevertheless.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 03 Nov 2017, 16:04

kislany wrote:Bit late to the topic, but starting sentences with a coordinating conjunction is certainly ok these days. Merriam Webster, the Oxford Dictionaries, CMOS, Garner’s Modern American Usage, Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Collins Dictionary, The Guardian and Observer Style, even The Elements of Style by Strunk Jr. & E. B. White say it's ok. The only person has ever told me it's not ok was my English teacher. And I certainly respect the above-mentioned entities more than the old rigid teacher who was hitting my fingers with a ruler every time I would misspell a word. (Yes, I used "And" here on purpose.)

Btw, here is a fun quote by Merriam-Webster about it. I mean, where do we stop?
Love the quote. I would agree that it is okay sometimes, but other times, it just doesn't work. Knowing the difference can be difficult.
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Post by kislany » 04 Nov 2017, 02:10

I do agree that we shouldn't overuse it. However, 2-3 sentences in an article (or review) are enough to make some well-chosen points. Definitely, it's one of those issues where finesse is called for.

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Post by DustinPBrown » 07 Nov 2017, 08:09

kislany wrote: The only person has ever told me it's not ok was my English teacher. And I certainly respect the above-mentioned entities more than the old rigid teacher who was hitting my fingers with a ruler every time I would misspell a word. (Yes, I used "And" here on purpose.)
[/quote]

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I'm totally with you. It's bad form to start every sentence with a conjunction, but it's hardly a mistake. We do it all the time, and there's no reason not to do it in writing.

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Post by Rosemary Wright » 03 Dec 2017, 08:28

"And & But" are coordinating conjuctions used to join words, phrases or clauses. I was taught in junior school that it's wrong to use "And or But" to start a sentence but modern English books and guides claim it's not wrong. For me, I still can't use them to start sentences in writing.

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Post by lingay83 » 25 Feb 2018, 09:59

But n and are intended for both judgement and addendum need.
One cannot strain their utility as far as I may not ward off the meaningfulness they foster. Legitimate standard expression with familiar grinding.

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Post by Cate winslet » 01 Mar 2018, 12:52

sometimes I lack a word to begin my sentence with...

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Post by P0tt3ry » 14 Mar 2018, 17:13

I would never start a sentence with "and" or "but" when writing formally. However, it's acceptable in creative writing as long as there is a reason.

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Post by jgraney8 » 09 May 2018, 22:49

I have taught with English teachers who said and and but cannot be used to begin a sentence. However, when I checked in grammar books, I could find no such rule. It appears the "rule" about and and but is more stylistic than grammatical.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 11 May 2018, 12:44

jgraney8 wrote: ↑
09 May 2018, 22:49
I have taught with English teachers who said and and but cannot be used to begin a sentence. However, when I checked in grammar books, I could find no such rule. It appears the "rule" about and and but is more stylistic than grammatical.
It's also about formal vs informal (blogs, Facebook posts, emails, etc). If it's stylistic, it would only be used once or twice in a short writing (such as a review). There are many other ways to start a sentence, which should be considered if you find you've used them more than once or twice in a short piece.
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Post by ekelly » 12 May 2018, 14:04

It doesn't sound correct,using But and And to begin a sentence, because I wasn't taught of that

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