Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

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honestabe84
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Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby honestabe84 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:44 pm

Beginning in grade school I was always told never to begin a sentence with the words "but" or "and". However, I have noticed that in many books and scholarly journals, authors will go ahead and use either of these words to begin a sentence. Can I begin a sentence using "and" or "but" in my personal statement, optional essays, locis, etc? I obviously would only use it very sparingly. I just have an area in my PS that I would like to begin a sentence with one of these words in order to improve the flow.

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20121109
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby 20121109 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:47 pm

honestabe84 wrote:Beginning in grade school I was always told never to begin a sentence with the words "but" or "and". However, I have noticed that in many books and scholarly journals, authors will go ahead and use either of these words to begin a sentence. Can I begin a sentence using "and" or "but" in my personal statement, optional essays, locis, etc? I obviously would only use it very sparingly. I just have an area in my PS that I would like to begin a sentence with one of these words in order to improve the flow.


Time to graduate from grade school, honey.

Yes you can use 'em.

<3

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JTX
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby JTX » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:47 pm

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/books/re ... cle1513448

Fowler was no friend of pedants. He said it was fine to use a split infinitive, or to end sentences with a preposition, or to begin sentences with “but.”

edit: add quote

honestabe84
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby honestabe84 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:51 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:Beginning in grade school I was always told never to begin a sentence with the words "but" or "and". However, I have noticed that in many books and scholarly journals, authors will go ahead and use either of these words to begin a sentence. Can I begin a sentence using "and" or "but" in my personal statement, optional essays, locis, etc? I obviously would only use it very sparingly. I just have an area in my PS that I would like to begin a sentence with one of these words in order to improve the flow.


Time to graduate from grade school, honey.

Yes you can use 'em.

<3


The reason I asked is because some writers consider it bad form. And they've obviously graduated grade school.

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JTX
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby JTX » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:52 pm

honestabe84 wrote:
GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
honestabe84 wrote:Beginning in grade school I was always told never to begin a sentence with the words "but" or "and". However, I have noticed that in many books and scholarly journals, authors will go ahead and use either of these words to begin a sentence. Can I begin a sentence using "and" or "but" in my personal statement, optional essays, locis, etc? I obviously would only use it very sparingly. I just have an area in my PS that I would like to begin a sentence with one of these words in order to improve the flow.


Time to graduate from grade school, honey.

Yes you can use 'em.

<3


The reason I asked is because some writers consider it bad form. And they've obviously graduated grade school.


Some writers are pricks. But some writers consider it a style choice.

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whitman
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby whitman » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:32 pm

Once you can write well you can do whatever the fuck you want. A good writer has the confidence to break grade school rules.

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kswiss
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby kswiss » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:36 pm

I think there is a legitimate concern because I find myself second guessing myself every time I do it. But sometimes there is no clearer way to say something.

If some adcomm is going to take offense to breaking a grade school rule, then....then....

I dunno.

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JTX
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby JTX » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:38 pm

kswiss wrote:I think there is a legitimate concern because I find myself second guessing myself every time I do it. But sometimes there is no clearer way to say something.

If some adcomm is going to take offense to breaking a grade school rule, then....then....

I dunno.


lulz. intentional irony?

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Panther7
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby Panther7 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:54 pm

jtxcounitah wrote:
kswiss wrote:I think there is a legitimate concern because I find myself second guessing myself every time I do it. But sometimes there is no clearer way to say something.

If some adcomm is going to take offense to breaking a grade school rule, then....then....

I dunno.


lulz. intentional irony?


Intentional I would guess. And done very well, I might add.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby FunkyJD » Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:15 am

It's kosher in Chicago Style. Good enough for me.

Jacktone
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby Jacktone » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:44 am

+1 to ignoring overly simplistic writing rules from grade school. You can feel free not only to (sparingly) start sentences with "but" or "and" but also to use "between" for more than two things, to end your sentences with prepositions, and to write an essay that's longer than 5 paragraphs ;)

umichgrad
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby umichgrad » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:13 am

But for the pedantic style of grade-school teaching, good writers would not feel obligated to be hemmed in by some outdated suggestion. And that's not to mention the sillyness of encouraging any writer to adhere to somebody else's vapid 5-paragraph structure or 19th century grammatical concerns. However, if you're going to do any of these things (especially using split infinitives), please ensure that your usage increases the clarity of your writing.

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BLi
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby BLi » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:17 am

+1

it's all about clarity of your intentions.

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Threepeat
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby Threepeat » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:37 am

umichgrad wrote:But for the pedantic style of grade-school teaching, good writers would not feel obligated to be hemmed in by some outdated suggestion. And that's not to mention the sillyness of encouraging any writer to adhere to somebody else's vapid 5-paragraph structure or 19th century grammatical concerns. However, if you're going to do any of these things (especially using split infinitives), please ensure that your usage increases the clarity of your writing.


Image

I find it hard to believe an adcomm would dock you for using 'but' or 'and' to begin a sentence, so long as it flows with the paper. Adcomms are not grade school teachers.

umichgrad
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby umichgrad » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:38 am

Threepeat wrote:
umichgrad wrote:But for the pedantic style of grade-school teaching, good writers would not feel obligated to be hemmed in by some outdated suggestion. And that's not to mention the sillyness of encouraging any writer to adhere to somebody else's vapid 5-paragraph structure or 19th century grammatical concerns. However, if you're going to do any of these things (especially using split infinitives), please ensure that your usage increases the clarity of your writing.


Image

I find it hard to believe an adcomm would dock you for using 'but' or 'and' to begin a sentence, so long as it flows with the paper. Adcomms are not grade school teachers.



exactly, hence the usage.

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:43 am

It's bad English and bad grammar for non-legal publishing.

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FunkyJD
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby FunkyJD » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:52 am

PoliticalJunkie wrote:It's bad English and bad grammar for non-legal publishing.

Do you consider Chicago Style to be bad English?

umichgrad
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby umichgrad » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:02 am

PoliticalJunkie wrote:It's bad English and bad grammar for non-legal publishing.


Wrong, sorry.

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Threepeat
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby Threepeat » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:05 am

umichgrad wrote:
PoliticalJunkie wrote:It's bad English and bad grammar for non-legal publishing.


Wrong, sorry.


Plus 1 to the "Wrong Sorry".

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SôngHươngNúiNgự
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby SôngHươngNúiNgự » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:09 am

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Last edited by SôngHươngNúiNgự on Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

umichgrad
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby umichgrad » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:16 am

SôngHươngNúiNgự wrote:
umichgrad wrote:But for the pedantic style of grade-school teaching, good writers would not feel obligated to be hemmed in by some outdated suggestion. And that's not to mention the sillyness of encouraging any writer to adhere to somebody else's vapid 5-paragraph structure or 19th century grammatical concerns. However, if you're going to do any of these things (especially using split infinitives), please ensure that your usage increases the clarity of your writing.


Good writers are not hemmed in by outdated suggestions. Adhering to vapid five-paragraph structures or 19th century grammatical concerns is silly; however, if you do any of this, ensure clarity in your writing.


Starting with "And" and "But" were totally unnecessary in this statement, and contributed to wordiness.


When you changed it, you changed the meaning. My sentence claims that BUT FOR this type of teaching, etc. Your sentence leaves that out and switches from subjunctive to present-active. You're correct that I could have been more succinct, but the but is completely allowable in this sentence. OP didn't ask if it's necessary to use them; rather, if there is ever a circumstance when it might be permissible. The answer is yes.

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:18 am

The editorial pages of the NYT and WSJ consistently start sentences with "and" and "but." Like lawyers, these editors need to convey lots in a short amount of space, and they use these two indicator words accomplish it.

The Editor of Black's Law Dictionary says:

"In law, many things converge to create overlong sentences. [One] is the nonsense baggage that so many writers lug around: the idea that it is poor grammar to begin a sentence with And or But."
Last edited by WhiskeyGuy on Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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SôngHươngNúiNgự
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby SôngHươngNúiNgự » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:21 am

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Last edited by SôngHươngNúiNgự on Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

umichgrad
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby umichgrad » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:26 am

SôngHươngNúiNgự wrote:
WhiskeyGuy wrote:The Editor of Black's Law Dictionary says:

"In law, many things converge to create overlong sentences. [One] is the nonsense baggage that so many writers lug around: the idea that it is poor grammar to begin a sentence with And or But."


Permissible? Sure. Contractions are permissible as well, that doesn't mean OP should use them.
Style guides from law dictionaries are fine, except a personal statement isn't legal writing.



Do you have any sort of background that would allow you to make these sort of conclusions? Being an English teacher, for example?

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SôngHươngNúiNgự
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Re: Beginning a sentence with "but" or "and?"

Postby SôngHươngNúiNgự » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:30 am

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Last edited by SôngHươngNúiNgự on Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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