Word Forge

Can you start a sentence with ‘and’?

Yes. And that’s all there is to it. Well, almost…

‘And’, as we all remember from school, is a conjunction – a joining word that links two sentences that might otherwise be divided by a full stop. It’s one of the first steps we take towards making our writing that little bit more sophisticated.

But (there’s another conjunction for you) as generations of teachers will testify, the moment you give children the power of ‘and’ they start using it everywhere. All of a sudden every line begins with it, so to encourage a little more creativity we were told not to start sentences with ‘and’. So powerfully did the message hit home that many of us have been terrified of starting a sentence with it ever since.

There is some logic to the idea. If something is designed to act as a join between two things, sticking at the front rather defeats the object, but there really is no rule that says you can’t start a sentence with a conjunction. The world’s best writers do it all the time, which is good enough for me.

Day to day, though, things aren’t quite so clear cut. Perception counts. As a copywriter, rounding things off with a sentence beginning with ‘and’ can give things a bit of extra oomph. But not all of my clients agree. They believe that the people reading their website, brochure, mailshot etc will think it demonstrates a poor grasp of grammar that reflects badly on them.

Do I debate the point? No of course not, because while it may be perfectly fine to start a sentence with ‘and’, if you truly believe its something your target audience would baulk at, then find another way of wording it.

And then write a blog about it to let off some steam.

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