Tamsin Constable

It’s OK to start with ‘And’ or ‘But’.

Children start off learning to write with simple sentences.

‘I rode my bike to the park.’

Then they’re taught to use ‘joining words’ (conjunctions: and, but, so, when, if etc) to stitch two short sentences into a longer one.

I rode my bike to the park, and then I played on the swings.

The singer wanted to sing, but she had lost her voice.

At this point, however, confusion sets in. In an attempt to get children to write longer sentences, teachers start to fall for the myth that such ‘joining words’ belong in the middle of sentences, not at the beginning.

Before you know where you are, you’ve got a so-called ‘rule’ that says you can’t start a sentence with a conjunction.

If that were the case, we wouldn’t be able to write any of the following.

While he was cooking chips, his false teeth fell out.

When Samantha arrived at work, she discovered that her boss had turned into a turnip.

As I was buying a new dress, I inadvertently bought some new boots as well.

Consider yourself illuminated on the issue.

Or rather, as the Bible says, And God said let there be light… And there was light.

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