I have gone down a mini rabbit hole. Unlike many rabbit holes, I can map out how I got here. I perused Adactio's blog, saw a link to a blog about writing, and clicked on an article that looked interesting. Then I read a piece of advice about writing more, saw a link to another site, then clicked on another article that looked interesting. I went through three different sites to find the article I found, all the while not seeking any piece of information in particular. Like all things, internet rabbit hole exploration can be fun and teach you a thing or two. Like all things too, moderation is advised.
Anyhow. That was a long introduction to what was supposed to be a short quote article. The blog post I saw asked a question I never thought I had: "Can I Start a Sentence with a Conjunction?" The short answer to this question is "yes," although consistent with my aforementioned note, moderation in the use of sentences beginning with conjunctions is advised.
I was taught in school that starting a sentence with "but" or "and" was bad grammar. I would not say I have had an aversion to starting sentences with these words. To the contrary. On my blog, I would guess I have started sentences with "but" quite often. "And" less so, although I am not looking at any data. I just recall feeling okay with my choice to start a sentence with "but" rather than risk a really long sentence. I usually end up using "but" to start a new sentence if the one I am writing is going to be too long. This makes me reflect on the importance of flow. A mixture of long and short sentences is a good thing. See?
The conclusion is particularly interesting:
So as long as you know how to avoid accidental sentence fragments, feel free to begin sentences with a coordinating conjunction. But don’t overdo it. Or it might be disconcerting to your audience. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?
I am glad to know that all of the times I have used "but" to start a sentence has not been in some error or partial rebellion at the rules of language. I like to write freely on this blog in terms of the actual structure behind my writing. This is in part as a nod to the medium of the personal blog, long known to be open to informal speech. Also, I do this because I do want to explore different methods of writing. Only through exploration can I figure out the best way to communicate using the written word and my own tone.
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