1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Starting a sentence with "And"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Alesia, Jul 3, 2013.

    Is starting a sentence with a conjunction still considered a cardinal sin? I grew up learning the rule of "thou shalt never EVER start a sentence with the word and!", but I have several sentences in many works where I really think it fits with the flow and I don't want to have to rewrite them before release because other people will be cursing my grammar.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's done all the time in fiction, so you're fine.
     
  3. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Creative writing is far more flexible and forgiving than legal, technical, or academic writing where grammar and punctuation are crucial. In fact, being too perfect is as bad as being too sloppy. Starting with 'and' is fine.

    There it stood. The monolith. Tall and striking amongst the figs. He walked towards it, praying. Chanting. He knelt by the base and touched the cold limestone wall. And then, from deep within the mist swirling high above, giant attack rabbits began their descent. (And yes, I could ditch the bold 'and' completely, but I like the flow.)
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I would agree with what others here have said, that it's okay to start a sentence in a piece of creative prose with "And." I'd insert a note of caution, though; this can become a bad habit. (Starting with "But" falls into the same category.) Used once in a while, this device has impact. Used frequently, it becomes very annoying!
     
  5. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    Done all the time in fiction. It's fine.
     
  6. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    In a formal paper, no. In dialogue, yes. In fiction, yes.

    In a biography or memoir. Yes.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, it is done a lot in fiction, but as Jannert pointed out, be careful. If you do it all the time, it can become annoying. Once in a while is fine, but when you review your work, see if it might work better or be just as good if you take out the "and." This happens to me a lot with the word "actually." I use it ALL the time. But when I'm editing, I take the majority of them out because the word usually doesn't really add anything.
     
  8. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    Yes, yes. I agree.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, Chicagoliz, we've all got the weasel words we need to prune! Mine are written on a list on my wall, above the computer: somewhat, a bit, rather, very, just, quite, really, actually, kind of, sort of, possibly. Aargh. No matter how careful I am, these sneak in!
     
  10. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    Personally I make every effort not to put 'and' at the beginning of a sentence as I feel that in most cases it isn't necessary. The sentence can either start without it or be linked to the sentence before, using the 'and' either with or without a comma before it, without destroying the flow.

    Where I particularly might make an exception is for a paragraph start, where the paragraph in question relates to the previous one but is moving on in terms of what it is describing.

    Regarding 'but', I've yet to satisfy in my mind that there are ways to remove it from the beginning of a sentence, but I'm sure I'll learn how to some day :)
     
  11. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I should do something like that. "However" usually ends up way over used in alot of my article writing and it's sneaking it's way into my fiction.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And so it goes.
     
  13. danihh
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    danihh New Member

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    I see it often. I'd try to stay away from it if possible, if you can rephrase the sentence than do it.
     
  14. Lanthal
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    Lanthal Member

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    There's a great scene in the movie Finding Forrester with Sean Connery where he and the MC discuss this. I don't have a problem with it if it is called for and isn't used to excess. I think there are still those that find the idea abhorrent though.
     
  15. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    'And' can actually have a good impact and flow in action/revelation (not sure what else to call it) sequences. I find it can keep the reader moving along without clumsy transitions. I agree with the above comments that it shouldn't be used often as it can become a 'lazy' habit.

    Me too! I always seem to use it when I can't find a way to bridge two ideas.
     
  16. W.A HAWK
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    W.A HAWK Member

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    Try this: There it stood. The monolith. Tall and striking amongst the figs. He walked towards it, praying. Chanting. He knelt by the base and touched the cold limestone wall. Then deep within the mist swirling high above, giant attack rabbits began their descent. (And yes, I could ditch the bold 'and' completely, but I like the flow.)
     

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