And (why it’s ok to start a sentence with one)

Jo Marshall | October 20, 2020 | Copywriting |  Working With Us |  Writing Tips | 

Let’s get this one cleared up. Once and for all.

It’s fine to start a sentence with ‘and’.

Even if you’ve heard it isn’t.

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I’m not entirely sure where this misguided notion has come from. That starting a sentence with ‘and’ is something you shouldn’t do. Or that it’s grammatically incorrect.

But we hear it from clients at least a few times a year.

And when questioned why they think this thing, they generally point to some vague memory of being taught it as a rule of what not to do, by some fusty teacher in the 1970s.

But can’t show you any evidence to back that up.

Here’s what author Bill Bryson, in his popular writer’s handbook Troublesome Words, has to say on the matter:

“The belief that and should not be used to begin a sentence is without foundation. And that’s all there is to it.”

If you need further evidence, just take a look at any popular writing from almost any era, ever.

Like the Bible. Or Shakespeare. Or any national paper.

And you’ll see examples of starting a sentence with a conjunction like ‘and’ (or ‘or’, ‘but’ or ‘because’) all over the place.

***

Truth is, professional wordsmiths throughout the ages have use it as a technique, because it makes their words flow better from one sentence to the next.

And that makes their writing more conversational. And more enjoyable to read.

Pay attention next time you’re talking to anyone, and I guarantee you’ll hear people conversing in incomplete sentences.

Joining fragments of sentences together. And linking sentences with conjunctions at the beginning. To make what they’re saying flow.

Bring that into your written work and it’ll help you to write as you speak. Making your writing easier to read. And more likely to achieve the things you want.