Can You Start Sentences with “And” or “But”?

By Daniel Scocco

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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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90 Responses to “Can You Start Sentences with “And” or “But”?”

  • adrian

    What are you conjoining if you start the sentence with “and”?

    Clearly the author’s example imply a preceding thought.

    I asked Bob to the movies.

    And Im still awaiting his reply
    But Im still awaiting his reply.
    However, I am still awaiting his reply.
    Although I am still awaiting his reply.
    Nevertheless, I am still awaiting his reply.

    your detractors need to read moby dick.

  • hour

    I always feel bad when I start a sentence with “but”, but I feel even worse constantly using “However” to start them because they start to pile up after a while.

  • M

    I disagree w/ the writer’s opinion on “formal” vs. “informal” language, as far as persuasive writing goes. Writing is meant to be conversational Write as u would speak. There is no rule on conjunctions – just a myth perpetuated by 3rd-grade teachers.

    As an attorney, nothing points to insecurity more than legalese. As in, “we’re smart – see the $20 dollar words” – heretofore and all that jazz just takes up empty space while saying nothing. “However” instead of “But”? “Nonetheless” instead of “Despite”? Please. No one speaks like that. U write for the reader. Grabbing the reader’s attention requires getting to the point right away – conversationally. No need 4 useless or meaningless words.

    What is more, dont write what your gonna say, then repeat it. That’s for oral speaking – listening is harder to absorb than reading. Anyone can “write” a 30-pager paper. Cutting it in half – w/out losing any substance – is the hard part. Some ways to shorten include using present tense, ridding as many “of’s” as possible, and changing words ending in “..ion” to verbs.

    Yes, I realize I am a horrible typer. But grammar – in my opinion – doesnt count on the internet, as long as u get the meaning. And to the sticklers on this – one would almost believe u 4got typing requires different motor skills than using a pen. As one not weened on a keyboard, I’ll take a pen any day.

  • David

    The use of “and” or any other conjunction at the begining of a sentence is a disgrace and proves that people alter what is acceptable for the ignorant. As a society that is fostering children who speak in the same context as writing in an electronic format such as email or text, it is evident the bar has been lowered. The defendants of using these words at the begining of a sentence suffer from what most poor writers experience. They write from a writers standpoint and not from the perspective of the reader. Many pen articles, blogs, and pamphlets without considering the flow and construction of their writing. It has always been more glamorous to say “I am a writer” rather than “I am a reader”. When I am hiring personnel or evaluating a person, I will carefully take note of their dictation and writing ability. I would dismiss people whom use conjunctions in this manner as typical, lazy, and unworthy to work for me. Sure they will make a living as a freelance writer of blogs or even graduate from their school; however, they will never ascend to the high rungs of success.

    I am fairly young and feel this is not a generation “thing”. The use of conjunctions at the beging of a sentence is solely due to ignorance and laziness of the writer or an example of the lowering of standards by teachers and bosses. Please note that I believe much of the tolerance from teachers has been due to the forced overwhelming ciriculum and the fact that teachers must “skim” over most assignments.

    p.s. I have seen a PARAGRAPH started in this manner as well.

    Disgusting!

  • Julia

    I am an English learner and I have learnt that you can start a sentence with “because” if you know the structure you’re using. An allocated subordinative clause should be followed by comma therefore it is correct to say: Because it is sunny, I am going to the beach.
    I came to this forum to get more clarification of what are the grammar rules for allocated conjunctions in clauses. It seems that English speakers have difficulties to refer to proper grammar rules, it is more about if it sounds good or not. Every language has its own structure, and everything should have a logic behind. I really have trouble finding the English ones.

  • Jeanne

    You have to switch from latinate grammar to descriptive grammar to figure out the function of the word. When you translate the equivalent of “and” as “in addition to,” for example, you have switched the function of and from a conjunction to a transitional word. A transitional word or phrase at the beginning of the sentence is usually praised by English teachers, but old school teachers rarely switch over to descriptive or transformational grammar. When you do, you find out that the old static rules of expression are truly dymanic and utilitarian in communication, thus responsive to the context in which the word is used.

  • Jessica

    In MY opinion, everyone should just calm down. We are all arguing about when we can say a word. Allowing people to begin sentences with the word “but” is not going to end the world or effect you in any way.
    I am sixteen and I use the word “but” to begin a sentence only when there is no alternative. I don’t use text language to write EVER and I think it is perfectly fine to allow a writer to express themselves any way they want to.
    And, Gerard… no. Starting a sentence with the word “but” or “and” is not going to cause the world to become illiterate. Let’s get real.

  • Derby

    I frequently use a conjunction to begin a sentence in informal writing of a blog or in fiction. Sometimes this indicates an afterthought. Sometimes it is in writing conversation, because this is how people talk. It does make the writing choppy, but, frankly, that is often my intent.

    You will not find me using a conjunction to begin a sentence in formal writing.

    Two of my pet peeves in writing are the very long sentence and the very long paragraph.

    I also don’t like the use of text message shortcuts in any other writing — emoticons excepted..

    One more comment: It would be nice if people adding their opinions on these forums (any forums, actually) would use a spell checker and double check their typing. My typing skills are lacking and I transpose letters many times. Therefore I always reread my post before posting it.

  • BillyC

    The English language is beautiful because it is constantly evolving. Look at any historical text, the grammar and words are are different from modern text.

    Let’s not be snobs and celebrate change.

  • Richard Phillips`

    The best way to acquire a good writing style is to read widely in fiction and non-fiction, preferably from this and the last century, as writing conventions and ideas about what is correct grammar do change over time, and not to try and learn a load of grammar ‘rules’ as laid down by ‘authorities’ like Strunk and White who apparently can’t even follow their own advice and don’t know what a passive construction is when they see one.
    An important distinction must be made between style in discursive prose like essays, dissertations, business correspondence etc and style in fiction. In fiction, just about every rule of grammar and style that ever was has been broken by writers like James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, William Burroughs etc. It would be ridiculous, out of place and frankly not every intelligent to criticize the style of Henry James in ‘The Golden Bowl’, of James Joyce in ‘Ulysses’ or of Faulkner in ‘As I Lay Dying’ as being ‘incorrect’, even when it’s not an interior monologue or a stream of consciousness. Besides, all three of these writers sometimes wrote extremely long and involved sentences that Strunk and White would have considered inadvisable.

    I think people get so fascist, fanatical, pedantic (like the grammar vigilantes who can’t resist pointing out every little imagined ‘error’ they’ve spotted in someone else’s post or article, as if they never made any errors themselves) and dogmatic about grammar and style because of the way they had it all drummed and conditioned into them in school.

    Anyone who has read serious prose literature by Henry James, T. S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, F. R. Leavis, George Orwell and many other major writers, English and American, wouldn’t need to ask whether it’s OK to start a sentence with ‘but’ because they (yes, ‘they’ and not ‘he’ or she! OK) would know that all these writers did this all the time. And (!) if these writers didn’t know their grammar or know how to write, we may as well all give up trying to write anything. This is not to say that even the best writers don’t slip up from time to time.

    (A good book on prose style is The Reader Over the Shoulder by Robert Graves, which contains passages by T. S. Eliot, I. A. Richards and others that could have been more clearly and better written. Graves gives his improved versions alongside them.)

    So my advice, which you’re perfectly free to ignore, is: don’t keep asking ‘experts’ and ‘authorities’. Read the work of writers who are generally acknowledged as being great and also books by people who really know what they’re talking about, like Steven Pinker in the Language Instinct. Another enlightening article I found on the internet recently was by G.K. Pullum, head of linguistics at Edinburgh University, who had some interesting things to say about Strunk and White’s ‘Elements of Style’ and its shortcomings.

  • Kisper

    While making a forum post, I questioned whether a sentence of mine was acceptable per the English language. Thanks for the letting me know through your clear and concise writing.

  • DaveS

    Given its origins and frenetic evolution via various interpretations and translations, I’m curious as to why the Bible is regarded as a paragon of English grammatical virtue…

  • Alex

    English, unlike French, has no formal rules, only common acceptance of usage.

    There is no authority for English that can conclusively state what is wrong or right. France does have this.

    And “Learnt” and “Amongst” are 100% correct in British English.

  • Christine

    I think starting a sentence with but in an informal writing sounds okay, but I wouldn’t use it in formal writing.

    I am wondering though if a sentence that begins something like ‘But for the…’ is grammatically correct.
    “But for the rain I would have walked to school.”

  • Eric

    As a general rule I don’t start a sentance with “and” but I have found it usefull for emphasizing questions (especially in business).

    Example: Will you be joining us for the 10:00 meeting and will you have your status report done?

    OR

    Will you be joining us for the 10:00 meeting? And will you have your status report done?

    Using “and” to start a sentance in the second example serves two purposes. Firstly, it breaks up what is being asked into two distinct questions. This helps to ensure that I get both parts of the question answered as it is clear that there are two questions being asked. Secondly, the emphasis on the importance of the second question is much more pronounced by starting that sentance with “and”.
    Simply removing the “and” from the start of the second sentance would be grammatically correct but wouldn’t convey the same emphasis on its importance and would read more like a survey than a pointed question.

    In the end, isn’t that why we learn proper English? So, that we can convey the subtleties of the spoken word through our writing?

  • J.L. Werewolf

    This little snippet of the internet reminds me of a linguistics class I took in college.

    Our beloved professor had a fond hatred for Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style” and he would use every opportunity to bash their rules on writing.

    “And” when he wasn’t espousing his views on Strunk as an “Illogical charlatan what has done more to destroy communication that to build it”, he was lighting other rules of English ablaze.

    Rules like this one… “Don’t use a conjunction to start a sentence.” I find this rule to be kindling on the greater fire that is the evolution of language.

    Language lives, it changes, it grows and the people who use it will optimize it as they see fit.

  • Mark C.

    I for one, do not think the English language should be changed for any reason. Regardless of what language the country or, the individual we do business with may speak or understand. Too many things in the U.S are being, or have already been changed to accommodate non-english speaking migrants, or people witu different religious beliefs. God has been taken out of schools and courts, and soon to be removed from our currency. They’re starting to eliminate the Pledge of Allegiance from classrooms, sporting events, and any type of Racing. Our Language and it’s grammar, should be left the way it’s always been. If you don’t care to learn it, I’m sorry. If the tables were turned, and it was an English speaking person going to your country, that person would not have a choice but to learn the language of that respective country. If any English speaking American decides to move or visit another country, do any of you think for one nano second that the people of any given country would modify any part of their language, or grammer to accommodate you, just because you think their language is a bit intimidating. Not a ice block’s chance of staying frozen in hell. You either learn their ways, or your S.O.L.

  • Joel

    For james-
    “as long as their is subject verb agreement” Huh? Ohhh, you mean ‘there’, not ‘their’. They’re actually two completely different words, meaning very different things.

    As for sentences beginning with and, but, etc., conjunctions, to me it was always a simple thing. It should read like it is spoken. Do you begin a spoken sentence with a conjunction? I don’t, and after many years of listening carefully to others, I submit that they don’t.

    True, some younger people today do, typically the ones that don’t know or care about punctuation, caps, or the differences between your and you’re, their/there/they’re, to and too and other similar textual tragedies. It appears that some may be trying to avoid run-on sentences by breaking them at the conjunction, and this reads just as it looks. Startling.

    I learned English happily, and while I cannot claim great sentence structure, or perfection in any of it, I firmly believe that it should be written as you would speak it. Today it’s becoming acceptable to begin sentences with and, but, etc., and to ignore the fact that to and too, for example, are different words. I’m ancient enough to have learned good English, and seeing how it’s devolving today, I’m profoundly grateful for my mortality.

  • Ste Graham

    The traditional English language is a beautiful thing. I can understand that evolution changes our language but does laziness constitute evolution?

    I blame “American English” for the devolution of our language and due to the sheer size of the United States, I fear it is inevitable. Their lack of true English education is apparent; I will always take pride in the fact that my vocabulary and the way I formulate sentences does not portray me as dumb.

    “There’ll always be an England!”

  • Fleur

    I don’t like sloppy English, or text talk, whatever David Crystal says, but I do like to be able to sometimes start sentences with “And” – and split my infinitives. I can’t imagine great writers, Ernest Hemingway springs to mind, replacing the short and simple “And” with a cumbersome construction like “However” or worse “Furthermore”.

    This is 2013, not 1953, and such horrible English is for lower middle class grannies who cover their carpets in plastic sheets and have houses full of dralon and nylon.

  • Kehbe

    Peter J, On August 26, 2008 1:05 pm you used the word ‘altar’ instead of the word ‘alter’. Surely you know the difference between the two forms. Altar is “any structure upon which sacrifices are made” and alter is “to modify in any way”.

  • Michele Lea

    Mark C.: In your personal rant you used “its and “it’s”
    incorrectly and correctly in the same sentence. That alone deflates some of your nonsensical ideas.

    Eric and Derby: I enjoyed your thoughts, and agree with them.

    There are few posts without grammatical and spelling errors; doesn’t matter what side they are taking and no matter how “intelligent” they sound. And (for emphasis) there are few forums that even agree on punctuation; contradictions and personal choice abound. The answer often is, that two ways are correct.

    I have enjoyed this thread. Thanks to all.

  • Aaron Lee

    A sentence that starts with a conjunction such as “although” is a weak clause, which is incomplete unless it is followed by a strong clause.

    Using the example as presented above, it should be:

    Although I am still awaiting his reply I am not going to spend much time wondering whether or not he’s going to call.

  • Luke Morse

    Here in Australia “although” is a subordinating conjunction; it begins a subordinate clause which requires an independent clause in order for it to function as it creates an incomplete idea.

    “Although I went to the store …” although you went to the store WHAT?! WHAT HAPPENED?! DID SOMETHING GO WRONG?!”

    (I apologise for the excessive use of interrobangs in the preceding.)

    It should also be noted that whenever a subordinate clause precedes an independent clause you must separate the two sentence fragments with a comma. Following this rule, your example would then read:

    “Although I am still awaiting his reply, I am not going to spend much time wondering whether or not he’s going to call.”

    LISTEN TO YOUR TEACHERS! We spent bloody YEARS studying these annoying rules!

  • Dale Kelleher

    In the English language, And and But should never start a sentence. The American language can do as it wishes, however, plagiarising the English language and continuing to describe American as any form of English, is misleading and rude. Just because America’s founders were poorly educated in the English language, it doesn’t mean everybody else should follow suit! If you want to call it English learn to write it correctly. There is no such word as color or mom or aluminum in the English language. The list goes on.

  • Michael David Curley

    Should a person have mentioned grammar to myself at age fourteen years old, one would have laughed. That being stated, always intrigued by the origins of the individuals own learning curve. Complex as any language maybe. To have engaged in a a brief understanding of old written English based from Latin, then, contemporarily formed into what really is very much American style’d grammar provides a challenge in itself.

    English language as a whole, based on even words with usage of Australian from shows people watch has taken what we knew, versus the basis of what we already have. Fairly simple, and much like Spanish still is, backwards. “Had our storyteller have known”, being in contrast to. “The man that told the story, had no idea”. Examples such as are perhaps still covered at length in UK private schools. Few original grammar schools, passed state, exist, this ending around the 1970’s….

    Memories being like they are, remember attending a march to keep them open, with my mom. Alas an error in not having stated mother.

    Dyslexia, or mild cases of, such as my own, combined with this often left of trail often provides online disasters. Inset against that which could be classed as basic hereditary reasonings to place words into a backwards formation passed down as an English born generic trait.

    Ownership to error is accountable!

    Allowances for people whom have never yet desired its fate is a something. Arrogance often determines the guiding course to an out. Allowance to a gentleman to do so is essential.

    Without a prior basic knowledge of historical mistakes. Much like the French Foreign Legion, with it’s many joining numbers form ranks. Making sense of rigid reasons to structure, is vital uniformity.

    In terms of schools the same. Artistic licence however, has always provided, the error, the gaze, and the joke.

    My kindest regards in allowing myself to join this vivid conversation.

    Mr. But Nice Joke

  • Paul Sheehan

    People ask, “What are you conjoining if you start a sentence with ‘and’?”
    Here’s what we are conjoining: Thoughts, paragraphs, previously stated ideas etc.

    Sometimes, we even start a sentence with “and/but” to join UNSTATED sentences and ideas!

    People have been intuitively (and rightfully) using and/but to join “stuff” that’s other than “parts of one meagre sentence”. All of this is a glorious evolution of language communication. We must embrace and extend the role of conjunctions as joiners of ideas, unstated sentences, thoughts, paragraphs, entire books, hyperlinks etc.

  • Michele Harper

    I have a question. Is there a comma after the “but” or “and” that begins a sentence? I recently had my manuscript edited, and it was returned to me with the editor inserting a comma after every coordinating conjunction that began a sentence. I thought there was no comma? Thank you!

  • Greg

    [I fixed a typo. Please publish this instead of the previous post. Thanks!]

    Those here who accuse the author of being an “ignoramus” or of trying to “altar” [sic] the English language are, in fact, themselves ignorant. Though the author begins with the incorrect assumption that beginning a sentence with a conjunction is a modern phenomenon, the practice has been accepted by literate and professional writers for centuries. As grammarist.com says, “That there is some sort of rule against sentence-beginning conjunctions is an old myth that never seems to go away despite the fact that it is not at all borne out in the writing of actual English speakers.” For example: “And even Mary could assure her family that she had no disinclination for it.” (Jane Austen) and “And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.” (John F. Kennedy)

    One of the leading authorities on writing style — the Chicago Manual of Style — says this about the subject: “There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. It has been so for centuries, and even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice.”

  • Wendy Barnes

    Peter J… I think you mean, alter( not altar lol)

  • Wendy Barnes

    Accommodate( not accommodate)

  • Rae T. Alexander

    I completely agree with using it sparingly. However, the idea of rewriting to avoid offending someone when writing a novel may be somewhat impractical.
    For example, I have characters that think. Then the reader reads their thoughts. On an occasion, there is a ‘but’ at the beginning. (But not often…oh so tempting here )
    Some of my characters are definitely not going to think in their head of the word ‘moreover.’ Oddly enough, some will.
    Bottomline, for professional documents, it is best to avoid. However, in a novel, style can rule.

  • David John

    Can you begin what you write with “But”?
    It depends – if it doesn’t help the intended reader understand what you mean, that may be bad, unless you don’t want them to understand what you say or don’t care. But if you want to communicate, then just consider each case, case by case.
    All these comments are written but they refer partly or wholly to what has been written before. There are lots of times when there is no prior reference. On those occasions it is better to make your writing as easy to understand as possible. “But” refers to something – if we use it without clear reference, we may fail to communicate.

  • Tim Higgins

    In most examples I read, “And” is superfluous. The sentences/paragraphs read just fine without it. I admit it can be useful in some cases so it’s not a rule of thumb imho

  • Chris

    The point of a conjunction is to join two sentences. It is not, will not, and should never be acceptable to start a sentence with a conjunction. This is day one composition stuff right here. The examples you provided are ridiculous. While reading “But I am still awaiting his reply” I could not help to think the preceding sentence would be something to the effect of I left Jim a voicemail today, and the following sentence would be your proposition of “But I am still awaiting his reply.” you are essentially telling people it’s okay to put a period in place of the coma in a conjunctive sentence and it’s okay. It’s not okay! It’s moronic at best. As Obama would say we won’t fall for that okie doke.

    I called Jim today, but I am still awaiting his reply.
    I called Jim today. But I am still awaiting his reply.
    I called Jim today. I am still awaiting his reply.

    Do you not see the problem with this???
    Why not just write “I am still awaiting his reply” or “she was running very fast” instead of making yourself look like you failed every English class from 9th grade and every subsequent English class from thereforth(and encouraging internet users worldwide to look foolish as you) by writing “And she was running very fast.”

    Did I just get trolled and not realize it??

  • George

    My credentials: I’m an English professor with 42 years of full-time teaching experience. I’m also a novelist and screenwriter, with world awards in both fields; and I was one of three finalists for a national book award for nonfiction. So (notice the clever conjunction) I have been around the block. But (duh!) don’t take my word for anything. Check the data: Look at the best writers. They often begin sentences with “and” or “but.” (Sorry, I can’t figure out how to make an italics in this website.)

    The idea that you cannot start sentences with “And” or “But” came from the 19th century, when the writer was touted as being more important than the reader. That’s like believing the salesperson is more important than the customer. English teachers emphasized long sentences so the writers could show their “ability.” But in modern writing we often break up long sentences for easier reading.

    On a side note: I found it amusing that “Jim” (October 17, 2011 9:04 pm) ranted that we cannot start sentences with “And” or “But” and then used “By” instead of “But” to start a sentence, thereby turning the sentence into gibberish.

  • Gavin

    I really loved reading the comments here…..more than most those about the change in the English language over time, as realistically it is less than about 2000 years for it to change in a very dramatic style.

    However, (yes I know) it does still feel wrong for me to allow ‘and’ or ‘but’ at the start of a sentence as I agree with most other this truly feels ‘wrong’……quotes used in deference to others.

    Gavin

  • Nicholas Ingrahm

    “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.”

    It’s already acceptable – according to “experts” who find it easier to change rules than adhere to them. It’s true that language usage changes over time, but the purpose of language is “communication”. Without that, what’s the point?

    Grammar, as wielded by so-called “media professionals” today is often abysmal. A newspaper story about a police chase will begin with, “The car was found at 3 am”, leaving readers scratching their heads, until reading two paragraphs later that the “found” car had been stolen. No one should have to read an article through three times to understand what it’s trying to convey. Televised news reporting is often worse, and don’t get me started on the quality of grammar usage at colleges. I work at one, and a presently prominent poster advertising an upcoming even begins with, “Thanks in advance for coming!”

  • Mica Rose

    The purpose of a conjunction is to connect. In written communication, if you start a sentence with a conjunction, it appears a phrase is missing. If someone left you a voicemail that began with “and”, “or”, “but”. you might think you missed the first part.

  • Jon (Veteran English Professor) Ph.D.

    Coordinating meets “tying things together” or “matching” things (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coordinating%20conjunction). A coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, for, so, yet) are supposed to tie thoughts together. Starting a sentence with a coordinating conjunction makes the second sentence (following the thought in the first sentence it should be connected to) a fragment, not a complete sentence. It is thoroughly lazy writing. Refusing to follow rules that make sense based on poorly construed anecdotal evidence is a sign of the times.

    If modern grammarians want to rename and redefine coordinating conjunctions for a society that tries to avoid any form of formal rules of meaning and writing, then the term “coordinating” should be removed entirely (although I am not in favor of this). Furthermore, the posts that say that examples of bad writing in the past somehow justify using bad grammar now are ridiculous. Everyone can find examples of improperly used grammar from the past to justify poor writing. In informal language and dialogue, starting a sentence with a coordinating conjunction is fine because it mimics real life, and it is in quotation marks; however, doing so in formal or academic writing is wrong because formal or academic writing does not mimic informal dialogue.

    Postmodernism’s attempt to destroy normalized constructs has allowed for several generations of lazy writers and lazy students. The advent of social media (following texting) has furthered this issue. After all, if one can suggest that rules are arbitrary, the no one can ever be wrong. Allowing this nonsense has not only destroyed lexical progress, but it has destroyed most corners of society. After all, if truth is relative or individual, then I have no reason to listen to anything anyone else has to say because they are just as right as anyone else is.

    Pointing to bad examples in the past is not proof that the new rule should be applied, only that some people considered it to be okay in the past. People once believed the world was flat – does that mean that we should go back to that idiotic belief (sorry flat-earthers – although, not really)? In addition, any grammarian can point back to correct uses of the rule, but that doesn’t seem to sway “supposed” grammarians that using coordinating conjunctions to start sentences is wrong. Why is it that they can pick and choose their evidence, thereby ignoring a long history of correct usage?

    To clarify, while I do not believe that “and”, “but”, “or” or “yet” can be used to start a sentence, I do believe that there are uses of “for” and “so” that are not strictly for coordination – see the following examples:

    For the first time, I saw the movie “The Lion King”.

    So that I did not burn my hand, I wore an oven mitt.

    These sentences could be written differently, of course, but, as they stand, they are (in my opinion) grammatically correct, as “for” and “so’ are acting as subordinating conjunctions rather than coordinating conjunctions.

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