Matthew Salzwedel, a blogger over at The Lawyerist, recently collected some of the authorities which agree that it is perfectly proper to begin sentences with conjunctions. His scholarly post lists among other authorities Bryan A. Garner, John Trimble, H.W. Fowler, William Zinsser, and The Chicago Manual of Style.
The Chicago Manual of Style puts it this way -
There is a widespread belief — one with no historical or grammatical foundation — that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but, or so. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. It has been so for centuries, and even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice.
On first-rate writing from centuries ago, the Manual could have cited Chaucer, Shakespeare, Swift, and Shelley. All used conjunctions to begin sentences. In Garner on Language and Writing, Garner reports that Jonathon Swift began his sentences with conjunctions more than one-fifth of the time.
Salzwedel notes that writing authorities are unsure how the purported prohibition started. The simplest reason seems best, and that is the rule was created to avoid sentence fragments. But you can begin with a conjunction without creating a sentence fragment. And it makes writing powerful.
Because a danger exists, however, the technique should be used sparingly. Garner reports that contemporary journalism begins sentences with conjunctions in about 15% of sentences. That seems right. Using conjunction-starters more often may render the writing too choppy. Or it may not.
Does anyone have thoughts on using conjunctions? Please leave me a reply or reach me at www.attorneyroberthill.com. In the meantime, please enjoy the video –