And I started a Sentence with But

This blog post gives the information well, so we decided to reblog it for your reading pleasure.  The use of and or but for a sentence starter gives a conversational feel to your writing.  If you write something that needs that conversational feel, you now have permission to start sentences with and or but.  Dialogue would fall under this category.  So, get rid of the grammar guilt and use this little technique, but use it sparingly and for effect.     Gram & Imma

Grammar Guilt

sentence grammar diagram

sentence grammar diagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is it we often feel guilt about our grammar?  Well, we’ Grams do, anyway!  Is it because we’re writers?  Is it because the rules of grammar were pounded into our heads in school?  While some rules need strict adherence, others may be disregarded on occasion.  We don’t disregard them without a reason, however.  Writers sometimes like to add emphasis or create something to catch the eye and make a passage different by letting a rule go.  Some writers have become famous for this.  Do you know a few?

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Something that I liked to call the 'schwa-stik...

Something that I liked to call the ‘schwa-stika’. It is used to denote one’s status as a Grammar Nazi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Spectrum:  Grammar Nazi|——————————————-|Who cares?

I find that “Grammar Guilt” makes me obsess over my writing a little too much.  We left-brained people have a tendency to do that anyway.  Imma helps me move from the far end of the spectrum (the Grammar Nazi), while I help her move from the other end (Who Cares).  If you feel guilt or obsession about your grammar, I’m guessing you spend too much time on the obsession or on trying to ‘perfect’ your writing grammatically.

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Slipping past the inner Grammar Nazi

The “and/but” as a sentence starter gives you a way to slip past your Grammar Nazi Inner Guardian without really breaking any rules.  If you have moved to the dark side, start letting a few things go.  I think you’ll find your writing much more free for the effort.  If someone is paying you for writing correctly, do it.  If you are writing for other reasons, or blogging, lighten up on yourself a bit and enjoy what you create–even if it’s not perfect!  ❤ Gram 🙂


Grammar Map

Grammar Map (Photo credit: veronicahigherlearning)

dodging commas

Can you start a sentence with “and” or “but”?

As a writer, I often find myself in situations when I want to use “and” to start a sentence. But you’re not supposed to start a sentence with a conjunction – right? Yet I was very surprised when a piece of academic writing was returned to me with a comment along the lines of “don’t use ‘however’ to start a sentence when a simple ‘but’ will suffice”. But … But … But … Isn’t that wrong? I thought to myself. Well, apparently, it’s not. So, was it ever a grammar rule? Or is it a rule we’ve manipulated with contemporary approaches to language? And won’t someone think of the conjunctions?!

(Did anyone count how many times I started with a conjunction in that paragraph? How many times do YOU start a sentence with a conjunction?)

The words “and” and “but” are

View original post 315 more words



  1. This is the difference between realistic-sounding grammar and stiff, stilted dialogue. GREAT points. I like your blog too, by the way!

    • Thank you Raymond 😀

  2. authormjlogan

    I find myself doing exactly this in dialog when I want to draw attention or insert a long pause into a complex thought. I rarely use the construct in formal writing or as the narrator in fiction. But, it can have a place in that type of writing if used correctly.

    • I find myself doing it more since I am in contact with more casual writing than before. Sometimes you just have to break a few rules 🙂

  3. AND I have now learned more about sentence structure. BUT I still want to share around my circles 🙂

  4. Kana Tyler

    Here’s to “slipping past the Grammar Nazi!” 😉

    • Lol! It’s rough when she lives in the same head! 😀

  5. I began the first sentence on the last page of my first book with ‘And so’, and had an argument with the editor over the use of the word. In my case, the word was used to draw a conclusion to the story. I fired the editor and used a different one. Of course my first editor also wanted to totally butcher my manuscript. I think I was dealing with a rookie because the next editor changed a few things that actually needed attention. She did a great job cleaning up a sentence here or there without taking away from the conversations among the characters. She also did a bang up job on my lousy punctuation. I can never seem to put my commas in the right places … some writer, I am. Huh? LOL .. Thank God for ‘good’ editors. Thanks for this share, it is an interesting article, Ledia. 🙂

    • Lol. We all have our issues. I love editing, so I’m glad a few people need me every now and again. Editors do have to be careful about ‘over’ editing. You don’t want to remove the voice just to have perfect grammar. Some things should remain even if they don’t quite fit as “good” grammar. A good editor can tell the difference. Thanks for stopping by! Angie

  6. I overuse conjunctions at the beginning of sentences in my first drafts. I think it is because I have written lots of spoken word material (sermons) that use a conversational style. I also like having flow from one sentence to another.

    Good writers are great grammarians; great writers know just when to break the rules.

    • I like that Sean. I have to remind myself not to do that when writing more formally. That’s why a first draft is a good thing. Angie


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