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ALMOST every serious grammar book and style guide addresses the question of whether you can start a sentence with and. And guess what? They all say yes, of course you can start a sentence with and. In fact, many of them take the opportunity to vent their frustration with the pernicious little myth. We're gathering every reference we can find here. Spotted one we could add to our list? Please let us know.


Sir Ernest Gowers

There used to be an idea that it was inelegant to begin a sentence with and. The idea is now as good as dead. To use and in this position can be a useful way of indicating that what you are about to say will reinforce what you have just said.
From Plain Words (1948).





Professor Steven Pinker

Many children are taught that it is ungrammatical to begin a sentence with a conjunction (what I have been calling a coordinator). Because they sometimes write in fragments. And are shaky about when to use periods. And when to capitalize. Teachers need a simple way to teach them how to break sentences, so they tell them that sentences beginning with and and other conjunctions are ungrammatical.


Whatever the pedagogical merits may be of feeding children misinformation, it is inappropriate for adults. There is nothing wrong with beginning a sentence with a coordinator... As we saw in chapter 5, and, but and so are among the commonest coherence markers, and they may be used to begin a sentence whenever the clauses being connected are too long or complicated to fit comfortably into a single megasentence. I've begun about a hundred sentences with and or but in [this] book so far.
From A Sense of Style (2014)

(Stephen Pinker is a cognitive scientist, linguist and Harvard Professor of Psychology.)



Kingsley Amis

The idea that and must not begin a sentence, or even a paragraph, is an empty superstition. The same goes for but. Indeed either word can give unimprovably early warning of the sort of thing that is to follow.

From The King's English, (1997)



Adams Sherman Hill

Objection is sometimes taken to employment of but or and at the beginning of a sentence; but for this there is much good usage"

The Principles of Rhetoric (1896)




The Chicago Manual of Style

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.
Chicago Manual of Style.




David Crystal

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. 

From The Story of English in 100 Words




Oxford Dictionaries Word blog

If your teachers or your organization are inflexible about this issue, then you should respect their opinion, but ultimately, it’s just a point of view and you’re not being ungrammatical. If you want to defend your position, you can say that it’s particularly useful to start a sentence with these conjunctions if you’re aiming to create a dramatic or forceful effect. 

The Oxford Dictionary words blog


RW Burchfield

‘There is a persistent belief that it is improper to begin a sentence with and, but this prohibition has been cheerfully ignored by standard authors from Anglo-Saxon times onwards.’
From New Fowler’s Modern English Usage


‘A prejudice lingers from the days of schoolmarmish rhetoric that a sentence should never begin with and.

The supposed rule is without foundation in grammar, logic, or art.’
Modern American Usage (1966)



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