Beginning a sentence with "and" or "but"

Do you like starting sentences with And or But?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

I remember learning in grade school that this was absolutely out of the question but once I hit college and started creative writing classes, I tried to slip the And or But in the beginning of the sentences quite often, because I really feel that they make a great transition. None of my professors really commented on it, for the classes were not set up to deal with grammar, but more with content and style, but I wonder, if I tried to submit an article to a magazine or something, would this be seen as a huge faux pas? Or is it accepted now?

I don’t do it for proper writing, essays and the like, but I do it when I am writing for myself or notes to people or fiction. I like to write fiction in an untterly incorrect yet interesting way, so I often start and end sentences with ‘and’ and ‘but’. I’m a rebel.

I’m guilty of doing this too. Strictly speaking, this is not allowed. We must not start our sentences with “and” and “but” in any form of writing so it doesn’t become a habit.

The rule against starting sentences with and, but or because is a hypercorrection teachers insist on in elementary school so that kids don’t stay in the habit of writing fragments. Many good authors and journalists in the adult world start sentences with these words, and it’s not bad English.

Hi chocolatee,

I’m intrigued by your feeling of guilt and the idea of not being allowed when you say:

I’m guilty of doing this too. Strictly speaking, this is not allowed. We must not start our sentences with “and” and “but” in any form of writing so it doesn’t become a habit.

But surely you must be joking. And I totally disagree. Who is this strict speaker?


It seems to be more common in Old English, but today many seem to dislike and beginning a sentence. Many great writers liked using and, including J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings.

I am reading Hillary R Clinton’s Living History, and the following sentences are abstracted from its Preface and Chapter One:

That September morning changed me and what I had to do as a Senator, a New Yorker and an American. [color=red]And it changed America in ways we are still discovering. We are all on new ground, and somehow we must make it common ground.

Yet our nation also had unfinished business in the post-war era, particularly regarding race. [color=red]And it was the World War II generation and their children who woke up to the challenges of social injustice and inequality and to the ideal of extending America’s promise to all of its citizens.

I woke up a lot of people who stumbled to the door or yelled at me to go away. [color=red]And I walked into a bar where men were drinking to ask if certain people on my list actually lived there.

Of course, when I returned home and told my father where I had been, he went nuts. It was bad enough to go downtown without an adult, but to go to the South Side alone sent him into a yelling fit. [color=red]And besides, he said, Kennedy was going to be President whether we liked it or not.

Throughout Bill’s tenure, we encountered political opposition, legal challenges and personal tragedies, and we made our fair share of mistakes. [color=red]But when he left office in January 2001, America was a stronger, better and more just nation, ready to tackle the challenges of a new century.

My mother and my grandmothers could never have lived my life; my father and my grandfathers could never have imagined it.[color=red] But they bestowed on me the promise of America, which made my life and my choices possible.

She washed the same blouse every day to wear with her only skirt and, in colder weather, her only sweater. [color=red]But for the first time, she lived in a household where the father and mother gave their children the love, attention and guidance she had never received.

When she graduated from high school, my mother made plans to go to college in California. [color=red]But Della contacted her―for the first time in ten years―and asked her to come live with her in Chicago.

My mother’s father died in 1947, so I never even met him. [color=red]But I knew my grandmother, Della, as a weak and self-indulgent woman wrapped up in television soap operas and disengaged from reality.

She died in 1960, an unhappy woman and a mystery, still. [color=red]But she did bring my mother to Chicago, and that’s where Dorothy met Hugh Rodham.

When he came back to tell his parents and pack his bags, Hannah was furious and forbade him to go. [color=red]But my grandfather pointed out that jobs were hard to come by, and the family could use the money for Russell’s college and medical education.

As she had suspected, Tosh and his family had been interned during World War II, and their farm had been taken from them. [color=red]But she was heartened to learn that, after years of struggling, Tosh had become a successful vegetable farmer himself.

I personally believe English, in this day and age, has evolved to the point where the traditional grammatical technicalities of the language aren’t as relevant or important whether in a written format or spoken, but are just such…technicalities.

And I am not with you. :slight_smile:

What a natural transition it is ! What is more, it sounds artistic to me :slight_smile:
Can anyone see anything else to convey the same meaning?

I do not want to write [color=red]but or and at the beggining of my phrases because I have heard that is not accepted in GRE or TOEFL. :shock: Sometimes I uncounsciously want to use these words at the beggining of statements, but then I change my mind and rewrite the stament. :idea:

This is what I read in a review of the book ‘The Kingdom of Infinite Space’:

But we nevertheless share in that collective history to think the thoughts we think; we do not, all by ourselves, create the content of thought from first principles but, instead, we share in the cultural heritage of those who thought before us.”

Is book review a kind of formal writing? I think it is a good example of beginning the sentence with ‘but’. There are few more instances in that article which begin with ‘but’.

I keenly agree with you…

English is a new born baby language with its technicalities when compared to my lng: I love it though. My language for example are so complicated and detailed that I deduce it is a very old language. But it has not been able to go on developing for almost two thousand year long period.