“Do Not Use A Conjunction At The Beginning Of A Sentence” – Myth or Fact?|Writing-Tips

If you do not use conjunction at the beginning of your sentences, you deserve an accolade. Because I have and I am still using them like there is no other day.

Should we stop using them to start a sentence? My primary School Teacher screams, ‘YES!!!’

As a child, I was warned against using conjunction at the beginning of my sentence. I was told they were solely for linking two words, phrases, or clauses together.

The Mnemonic device; FANBOYS, is used to engrave these words in children’s ‘minor’ brains to keep it there.

The words are in my head that each time I type any of those forbidden words at the beginning of my sentence, I tend to lash myself in silence. I keep nagging myself, hey, you know this is wrong! Delete that word and replace it with a good sentence starter!

I remember how we chanted the words until our lips trembled, to keep them in there;

FANBOYS; 🎶 For, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.🎶

The words above, are the Coordinating conjunctions.

Here are some subordinating conjunctions we were also discouraged from using at the beginning of a sentence;

🎶 because, since, as, although, though, while and whereas 🎶 

But later in life, I came to know that there is a reason behind that particular lesson. It’s for my small brain. To prevent me from misusing or overusing those words.

In the quest to avoid bad writing, writers follow basic grammar rules to make their writing read great. And I won’t be mesmerised by a writer who avoids these words in his or her writing. There is no hurt in avoiding them. It’s called being extremly careful or fulfilling all righteousness.

If you look into the oldest and the most popular book of all times – the Holy Bible, you will notice that lots of these conjunction words sit at the beginning of sentences.

The Bible was translated to English by well read English Scholars of the old. These were the people who ate, drank and sang ‘unadulterated’ English. In those days, I believe, English communication/ grammar had rigid rules. Why then did they use those words in such manner?

Again, many great books we come across in our reading journey, have these conjunctions at the beginning of some sentences, even though they are credible books.

If these trusted sources used conjunction at the beginning of the sentences, why restrict ourselves?

In fact most English scholars think it’s a myth to say that we should not begin a sentence with a conjunction and I believe it is. There is no known basis for the rule. In other words, there is no grammar rule that says we should not use conjunction to start a sentence. It’s only a made up rule- by school teachers.

These teachers needed to curb the misuse and overuse of conjunction words by school children, hence the rule.

During the 19th century, some schoolteachers took against the practice of beginning a sentence with a word like but or and, presumably because they noticed the way young children overused them in their writing. But instead of gently weaning the children away from overuse, they banned the usage altogether! Generations of children were taught they should ‘never’ begin a sentence with a conjunction.Some still are.

David Crystal
The story of English In 100 Words.

So, feel free to use both coordinating and subordinating conjunctions at the beginning of your sentences. But bear the following in mind;

– You must not overuse them in your writing

No writer would like to start every other sentence with a conjunction. That’s the best way to make your writing look absurd, amateurish and vague. So, make sure you use them sparingly.

– You don’t want to use every conjunction word at the beginning of your sentence. Use your common sense when using them.

– Avoid accidental sentence fragments when using the conjunctions at the beginning of your sentence. A sentence fragment looks like a sentence but does not communicate a complete idea. Make sure your sentence make complete sense.

In a nutshell, as long as you can use them carefully, go ahead and use conjuction at the beginning of your sentence.

But if you think it is still wrong to begin a sentence with a conjunction, master the conjunctions below.

Again not all of the words below are right at the beginning of a sentence.

List of Conjunctions

after, although, as, as if, as long as, as much as, as soon as, as though, because, before, by the time, even if, even though, if, in order that, in case, in the event that, lest , now that, once, only, only if, provided that, since, so, supposing, that, than, though, till, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, whether or not, while, after, although, as, as if, as long as, as much as, as soon as, as though, because, before, by the time, even if, even though, if, in order that, in case, in the event that, lest , now that, once, only, only if, provided that, since, so, supposing, that, than, though, till, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, whether or not, while, for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so

If you have a different opinion, or a contribution, do share with us in the comment.

6 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s