Can You Start Sentences with “And” or “But”?
In the past, English teachers used to preach that one should never start a sentence with conjunctions like and or but. Does this rule still apply today?
Not entirely. It is already acceptable to start sentences with such conjunctions. Some authorities, in fact, even defend that for some cases conjunctions will do a better job than more formal constructions. Here is a quotation from Ernest Gowers addressing the usage of and on the beginning of sentences:
That it is a solecism to begin a sentence with and is a faintly lingering superstition. The OED gives examples ranging from the 10th to the 19th c.; the Bible is full of them.
While it is acceptable to use such conjunctions to start a sentence, you should still use them carefully and efficiently, else your text might become choppy.
Secondly, many people still regard such usage as informal. If you are writing a formal piece or if you are not sure how your audience might react to conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence, you could substitute them with more formal terms. Below you will find some examples.
But I am still awaiting his reply.
Can be written as:
However, I am still awaiting his reply.
Although I am still awaiting his reply.
Nevertheless, I am still awaiting his reply.
And she was running very fast.
Can be written as:
Moreover, she was running very fast.
In addition, she was running very fast.
Furthermore, she was running very fast.
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