Can You Start a Sentence with “And”?

Today’s grammar post is going to be short and sweet.

I don’t know about you, but when I was in school, I was taught to never begin a sentence with words like And, But, or So. However, like many grade-school grammar teachings, this one goes alongside the “rule” about putting a comma “wherever you would normally take a breath” and simply doesn’t hold up. 

In most cases, it is completely acceptable to begin a sentence with a conjunction (and, but, so, etc.). Cases where a conjunction may not be appropriate are in more formal writing such as a scholarly paper or medical journal.

So don’t feel beholden to an ancient rule and start using conjunctions to begin sentences! Just make sure you’re not starting every sentence with a conjunction, and don’t just do it because you know you can.

Articles for further reading on this topic:

Daily Writing Tips “Can you start sentences with And or But?”

Oxford Dictionary examines the rule

Grammar Girl: Can you start a sentence with “Because”?

Were you ever taught this rule? Do you start sentences with conjunctions?

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5 thoughts on “Can You Start a Sentence with “And”?

  1. Fiction does need creativity. And starting a sentence with “BUT” is creative. I am going back and forth with “fragments”. To use it or not and the spell checker on my MS Word reminds me that it is a fragment.

      • I agree with not trusting any automated software grammar checker, but I like running my manuscripts through and I think it out if I agree to their suggestions. I look up words on Merriam-Webster Online: Dictionary and Thesaurus when it does not look right or not the word I really wanted.

  2. Agree with you, Amanda! Depends on the formality… 🙂 I like to use conjunctions at the beginnings of sentences in my fiction writing, but not in academic writing.

    Thanks for the Twitter follow! It’s nice to meet another freelance editor! 🙂

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