- For Teachers
I had already heard some grammarians state in formal English sentences should never begin with "but" or "and".
Then I tried to police myself on that. Regarding "and" everything went fine; I was able to do the job easily.
However, regarding "but" things were not that easy until I realized that whenever I wanted to start a sentence with "but" I could use "however" (just like in the beginning of very sentence you are reading now).
Now I have just read it is not good to start a sentence with "however" because it is a conjunction and conjunctions do not start sentences.
What shall I do now ???
I think I'll get crazy.
By the way, I think that "then" used in the third line above used to begin the sentence "Then I tried ... " is also prohibited!
I would like to learn how to write in English in many different ways, including the one you call "very formal English" (OK, I know it will take me a long time to achieve that, but I will try). So I need to practise those old formal rules, but it is really hard. Please forgive my complaing; this is just a kind of an "outburst" (if that word goes well).
However, I think it is important to say that, although I understand your point, I particularly maintain my initial interest. One of the mottos I have adopted for my life is:
"Learn everything, you will find nothing superfluous." (St. Victor)
As for the use of true coordinating conjunctions (and, but, etc.) to begin sentences, it has a lineage dating back to the King James Bible (e.g. And God saw that the light was good, Genesis 1:4), making it rather hard to fault it as some kind of lazy modern trend!
Simply avoid overuse, and you'll be fine.
NOT A TEACHER
Hello, Abstract Idea:
Please do not go bananas!
Most usagists (people who write books to tell us what "good" English is) agree: it is fine to occasionally use
and, but, for, or, or nor to start a sentence. (Of course, if your teacher says that it is wrong, do not argue with him/
her. Just agree, and then just continue to do what you want outside of the classroom.)
Here are just a few usagists' comments (I put some of their words in bold):
1."It is rank superstition that this coordinating conjunction cannot properly begin a sentence."
-- Bryan A. Garner, A Dictionary of Modern American Usage (1998), pages 39 - 40.
2."Though using and as a transitional artifice is quite acceptable, you should do so in moderation."
-- Mr. Garner.
3. "Used with restraint, [and] can contribute to movement and emphasis. Overused, it can be damaging to both,
as well as boring for the reader."
-- Mr. and Mrs. David Ebbitt, Perrin's Index to English (1977), page 34.
4. "An initial and is a useful aid to writers as the narrative continues."
(a) "Tibba still pined and slavered for the school lunches. And little other care hath she."
(b) "I'm going to swim. And don't you dare watch."
-- New Fowler's Modern English Usage (1996), pages 52 - 53.
Well, I think that you get the idea.
HAVE A NICE DAY! (And don't be ashamed of starting a sentence with and.)
Last edited by TheParser; 26-Jul-2012 at 18:13.
For those thinking of using the word ‘usagist’ a search at OneLook: General dictionary sites brought up the message “Sorry, no dictionaries [of the 129 listed] contain the word usagist.”
I have just googled:
I received some interesting results.
Granted, it is rare, but perhaps we usingenglish members should promote its use.
Professor Quirk was rather rude (in my opinion) to say that Mr. Henry Fowler was no
"grammarian." OK, maybe he wasn't. But [beginning of sentence] no one can deny that he was certainly a usagist!