Don’t start a sentence with and or but?

Posted on 25/11/2016 · Posted in Recent news

Welcome to the first article in our #Mythbusters series!

Most of us have some writing rules etched into our brains, probably drummed in at school. ‘Never start a sentence with and or but’ is probably one of them. In formal situations it is known: Never start a sentence with a conjunction.

But that is not always true. Children are taught this rule at school to keep them from writing: I have a brother. And a sister. And a dog.
Starting a sentence with a conjunction such as and or but should indeed be reserved for special occasions, but you may use it to create a more forceful or dramatic effect. The new sentence starting with and or but can draw the reader’s attention to an important point that you want to make.

Let’s consider examples where using and and but at the beginning of a sentence gives more weight to the thought expressed in the second sentence. In these cases, a comma would have been far less emphatic:

It seems as if this approach will work. But we need to look at the problem from a different perspective as well.
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Or when you want a more dramatic effect:
Some people are calling this performance the worst ever. And who are we to argue?

The transformations at this level are quite impressive. But do they go far enough?

There you are. Free from one more shackle!