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    • Join Date: Aug 2007
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    Using "Then" to start a sentence.

    I am a Technical Writer. I am not sure on the proper grammar rules for whether or not it is acceptable to start a sentence with the word "Then."


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    Re: Using "Then" to start a sentence.

    Welcome to the forums!

    Could you give an example of where you might use it? I can think of sentences that start with Then, but they are generally narrative.

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    Re: Using "Then" to start a sentence.

    [Neither a teacher nor a NES]

    I've never come across any rule that would say this, which might mean there's no such. Then, if there is such, it might be quite artificial. But I have come across hundreds or thousands of sentences starting with "then" in academic writing. I'd be happy, though, to learn this rule if it's true indeed. Neither of grammar books I've read says this. But, look what Thomson and Martinet's "A Practical English Grammar" (4th edition, Oxford University Press) says:

    "afterwards, eventually, lately, now, recently, soon, then, today, tomorrow etc. and adverb phrases of time: at once, since, then, till
    These are usually placed at the very beginning or at the very end of the clause, i.e., in from position or end position. End position is usual with imperatives and phrases with till:
    Then we went home / We went home then

    I know the sentence in the example is pretty simple, but the rule seems straightforward.


    • Join Date: Aug 2007
    • Posts: 6

    Re: Using "Then" to start a sentence.

    I am discussing the process of how a particular machine works. As I continue each step, I don't want a run-on sentence. I am editing another person's work. I am wondering if the sentence is correct if I leave it this way:

    1.Pass #4 begins at the rear of the car
    a.The Rocker Panel Light will turn off and the Rinse light will illuminate.
    b.The Cat Pump will turn on, spraying water from the top and side nozzles.
    c.The Top Boom will travel down, based upon the setting of the boom down timer.
    d.The Top boom will rise up to the Home position if itís a tall vehicle or rise up only to the Height adjustment prox if itís a short vehicle.
    e.The Top Boom will spray High Pressure rinse while raising or lowering.
    f. Then the gantry travels toward the front at a slow speed because the slow speed option is selected in the recipe applying a high-pressure rinse.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: Using "Then" to start a sentence.

    From Punctuating conjunctive adverbs in simple sentences:
    We do not use a comma with the conjunctive adverb "then" regardless of whether "then" starts a
    sentence or joins two independent clauses. Look at the following examples.

    "We had checked the ledger thoroughly. THEN we mailed the invoices."

    "We had checked the ledger thoroughly; THEN we mailed the invoices."
    Last edited by Casiopea; 16-Aug-2007 at 16:31.

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
    • Posts: 6

    Re: Using "Then" to start a sentence.

    There is no comma in the example I gave you. The more I look at it, I think I should take out the entire word and begin with "The." I appreciate your time and comments.

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