Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#172851 - 01/24/08 09:02 PM And to begin a sentence
Bigwig Rabbit Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/22/07
Posts: 33
Loc: California, USA
The word "and" is a conjunction and therefore should not begin a sentence. I understand its use at the beginning of dialog and in certain situations in fictional literature. My beef is that it is widely (mis)used in all types of writing. My particular gripe is when this is done in children's text books. It is appallingly common. I guess at least I have examples of exactly how not to write. (edit) That sentence is awkward, an example of how not to write.


Edited by Bigwig Rabbit (01/24/08 09:04 PM)
_________________________
http://shooper60.googlepages.com/home

Top
#172853 - 01/24/08 09:17 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
And I like end-placed prepositions and sentences beginning with conjunctions. Some of these old grammatic shibboleths need to be tossed out with the bathwater, and don't bother shouting gardyloo.

(I highly recommend David Crystal's The Fight for English for much more on this topic.)

-joe (to boldly rant) friday

Top
#172854 - 01/24/08 09:19 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]
belMarduk Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/28/00
Posts: 2891
Allo Bigwig.

When I took creative writing classes in college, we were taught that current usage allows for using "and" at the beginning of a sentence, that it a common technique when writing as if one is speaking out loud.

Top
#172858 - 01/24/08 10:18 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: belMarduk]
Bigwig Rabbit Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/22/07
Posts: 33
Loc: California, USA
Yes, belMarduk, I must grudgingly accept the existence of this as a convention in creative writing. I reject it in expository writing or in like genre. An analogy might be the use of the prefix "dis" (as I mentioned in a previous thread) in place of "dys" by folk etymology for a word like diskenisia, properly spelled dyskenisia, but commonly used inappropriately (a google search will elucidate the matter).

I am continually chagrined at Saki (H.H. Munro), of all people. He begins sentences with "and" regularly. Love his work, though. Misuse is grating on the nerves, I say. I will now need to take a chill pill and use an ample amount of brainbleach.
_________________________
http://shooper60.googlepages.com/home

Top
#172861 - 01/25/08 02:54 AM And the earth was without form ... [Re: tsuwm]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Oh, big sigh. Good writers have been using and and but to begin sentences since Old English. (Just take a gander at how many sentences begin with and in the King James version of the Bible (starting with Genesis). According to John McElroy, in his Structure of English Prose: A Manual of Composition and Rhetoric (1885), George Campbell, the peevish, was the first to rant about this common usage in his Philosophy of Rhetoric (1776). Happy reading. (BTW, I agree with my esteemed colleague, tsuwm, in his suggesting Professor Crystal.)
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

Top
#172863 - 01/25/08 05:59 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Interesting, Bigwig, you bring this "And" up. Though I'm unaware and a bit careless of any rules there may be in writing I share this dislike of too many ands at the start of a sentence. It was on this forum I started the habit to check my posts on this. A matter of composition, I guess.
And..and... zmjezhd is right in that in this Bible it may be so imbedded in the total cadence that it is not irritating. As is the case in any GOOD writing.
In whichever way, the use should be functional, I think.

(I also avoid listening to conversations that go from one and to another.)

Yes, obviously zmjezhd, in Genesis all the ands in this great beginning are fully functional.Would be a loss if they were left out.

Top
#173376 - 02/09/08 04:54 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: tsuwm]
latishya Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/24/07
Posts: 390
Loc: कहीं &...
Originally Posted By: tsuwm
And I like end-placed prepositions and sentences beginning with conjunctions. Some of these old grammatic shibboleths need to be tossed out with the bathwater, and don't bother shouting gardyloo.

(I highly recommend David Crystal's The Fight for English for much more on this topic.)

-joe (to boldly rant) friday


Also, the excellent Linguistics and Your Language by Robert A. Hall Jr., and Language Myths edited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill. One of the myths examined in the latter is "women talk too much", with some quite astonishing and slightly scary data.

Top
#173390 - 02/09/08 10:31 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: latishya]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
the excellent Linguistics and Your Language by Robert A. Hall Jr.

I second the motion. I own the first, vanity-published edition, under a different title Leave Your Language Alone! Also good is Ronald Wardhaugh's Proper English: Myths and Misunderstandings About Language.

"women talk too much"

This meme has been much discussed on Language Log.
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

Top
#173400 - 02/09/08 03:07 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]
latishya Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/24/07
Posts: 390
Loc: कहीं &...
Originally Posted By: zmjezhd
Also good is Ronald Wardhaugh's Proper English: Myths and Misunderstandings About Language.


Thanks. I read the two I mentioned after seeing them lauded by languagehat. I only borrowed them through my local library, but now must own them. I shall look out for Wardhaugh's as well.

Top
#173401 - 02/09/08 03:37 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Originally Posted By: Bigwig Rabbit
The word "and" is a conjunction and therefore should not begin a sentence.


Is it OK to use "and" to begin a sentence if you're using it as a verb?

Top
#173404 - 02/09/08 04:22 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: latishya]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
after seeing them lauded by languagehat

Yes, Steve is a great language blogger. (I see I mentioned Wardhaugh in my comment to the entry linked to; I learned about him via Geoff Pullum's entry on Language Log.)
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

Top
#173405 - 02/09/08 04:23 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Faldage]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Is it OK to use "and" to begin a sentence if you're using it as a verb?

<Grin> I wonder if and is an adverb in try and V constructions?
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

Top
#173406 - 02/09/08 06:42 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Faldage]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
>Is it OK to use "and" to begin a sentence if you're using it as a verb?

OR the result with 11111.

-joe (posts, that is) friday

Top
#173414 - 02/10/08 09:07 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: tsuwm]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Originally Posted By: tsuwm

OR the result with 11111.

-joe (posts, that is) friday


Too true. And then some.

Top
#173457 - 02/11/08 08:46 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Faldage]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Here is the text of Archbishop Wulfstan's early 11th century Sermo Lupi ad Anglos, considered one of the masterworks of English rhetoric. It contains 80 sentences. Thirty-eight of them begin with the word and.

Top
#175598 - 04/05/08 05:46 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Faldage]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Just thought I'd bring this back up. Recently ran into this old post from Mark Lieberman at Language Log on beginning sentences with and.

Top
#175602 - 04/05/08 06:30 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Faldage]
twosleepy Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 876
Loc: western NY
I've always thought twice before doing so, but I am not so rigid that I would not. I do find, however, that often the "And" may be removed and still have the meaning, intent and grace of the writing remain intact, in which case it is not necessary.

"But this rule has been ridiculed by grammarians for decades,"

I realize he was trying to make a point (and a funny), but I think the "But" can be replaced with "Yet" and not break any rules (or is there a rule against "yet"?) whilst retaining all the meaning. Good editing requires the removal of the unnecessary, the redundant and the superfluous. ;0)

Top
#175605 - 04/06/08 04:22 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]
The Pook Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1067
Loc: Tasmania
 Originally Posted By: Bigwig Rabbit
An analogy might be the use of the prefix "dis" (as I mentioned in a previous thread) in place of "dys" by folk etymology for a word like diskenisia, properly spelled dyskenisia, but commonly used inappropriately


\:D ROFL. Are you kidding? Since when has the word dyskenisia ever been used in folk-anything? Folk don't know what it means, let alone its etymology.

AND (ha), actually it's spelled dyskinesia!

Top
#175615 - 04/06/08 10:31 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Faldage]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Thirty-eight of them begin with the word and.

I've always thought that particles like this were a kind of punctuation in non-metrical oral literature. Beginning a sentence with and or but indicates that one sentences has stopped: sort of a rhetorical version of a period (or full stop).

Also, how does one handle the sentences to be coordinated if they are distributed between two writers?

John said "Do not end a sentence with a preposition."

"But better writers than you did it all the time!" Mary replied.
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

Top
#175634 - 04/06/08 06:42 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]
olly Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 956
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
And sentences ending with and?

Top
#175636 - 04/06/08 07:13 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
 Originally Posted By: Bigwig Rabbit
The word "and" is a conjunction and therefore should not begin a sentence.


The unspoken assumption here is that conjunctions can only be used to conjoin two things that are in the same sentence. Since good writers have been using them to conjoin things in separate sentences I can only assume that this is not a rule that applies to the language we use on a daily basis. But then the prescriptivist's basic rule seems to be: If it works in practice but not in theory something must be wrong with the practice.

Top
#175637 - 04/06/08 07:25 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]
The Pook Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1067
Loc: Tasmania
 Originally Posted By: zmjezhd
Oh, big sigh. Good writers have been using and and but to begin sentences since Old English. (Just take a gander at how many sentences begin with and in the King James version of the Bible (starting with Genesis)....

Thirty-eight of them begin with the word and.

I've always thought that particles like this were a kind of punctuation in non-metrical oral literature. Beginning a sentence with and or but indicates that one sentences has stopped: sort of a rhetorical version of a period (or full stop).


In translations of the bible it is simply reflecting the cadence and flow and structure of the original languages and/or authors. This is particularly true of the King James version, whose authors actually changed some of the grammatical habits of English usage by ignoring English grammar in favour of an over-literal rendering of the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek of the Old and New Testaments.

As far as 'And' goes, this is especially true of Mark's Gospel. The KJV's formulaic translation of Mark's kai egeneto is the familiar "And it came to pass...". Greek often starts sentences with kai, and Mark even more than your average Greek writer. Mark's favourite expression seems to be kai euthus, which is usually translated "And immediately..."

As zmjezhd notes, in cases like this 'And' at the start of a sentence is almost a kind of punctuation mark - and not just in 'oral literature' - remember that originally uncial manuscripts had no punctuation marks or spaces between words, so this was more necessary than later when those things were invented.

Top
#175642 - 04/06/08 08:06 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: The Pook]
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
 Originally Posted By: The Pook
remember that originally uncial manuscripts had no punctuation marks or spaces between words, so this was more necessary than later when those things were invented.


Which makes it kind of hard to tell where sentences begin or end.

Top
#175643 - 04/06/08 09:41 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]
morphememedley Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 155
And as the first word of a sentence, especially when followed by a comma, seems to me to often serve as well as moreover—not that I'd easily give moreover up.

Top
#175658 - 04/07/08 10:41 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: The Pook]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
Greek

I think the deprecation of sentence-initial and is due to something very much like the etymological fallacy. Because one traditional term for and is conjunction, the grammaticules think that it must conjoin two words, phrases, or sentences. Greek has a whole passel of little words called particles. The British Classical scholar J D Denniston wrote, in just over 650 pages, a book about them. One interesting thing about Greek particles (e.g., δε (de) 'on the other hand', γαρ (gar) 'in fact, indeed, for') is they typically come after the first word in a sentence. The word και (kai) 'and' can be analyzed as a conjunction or as a sentence-initial particle: cf. Smyth Greek Grammar §2868 "και is both a copulative conjunctive (and) connecting words, clauses, or sentences; and an adverb meaning also, even". I feel most of the time we forget that a word's lexical class (aka lexical category or part of speech) is not an inherent property of the word, but an indication of how it is used in sentences. (Also, in Hebrew, ו (w-) 'and' is a proclitic adhering to the word it precedes.)

As The Pook implies above, punctuation (including the almost-as-important-as-zero space) is a rather modern invention in regards to the rest of written language, but many of our punctuation terms come from Greek rhetorical terms: e.g., period 'circuit; sentence, period', comma 'bit cut off; short clause', apostrophe a turning away from; digression', parenthesis 'a placing around; a parenthetical clause', ellipsis 'a falling short; an omitted word, clause'. Not all Greek or Roman MSS lack word separation, but the space (and the interpunct ·) were not mandatory as they are today. And there are clues other than just punctuation that one can use to determine what constituted words or sentences, e.g., prosody, morphology, syntax.
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

Top
#175689 - 04/08/08 08:21 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]
The Pook Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1067
Loc: Tasmania
 Originally Posted By: zmjezhd
I feel most of the time we forget that a word's lexical class (aka lexical category or part of speech) is not an inherent property of the word, but an indication of how it is used in sentences.

As indeed grammar itself is not an inherent property of a particular language but an indication of how that language is used.

The use of 'and' in Greek is a fascinating study, thanks for the above post. Kai is a more versatile word than our English 'and,' nevertheless, even our English 'and' is not just a conjunction.

Even when used as a conjunction, 'and' can combine words into something more than just the sum of their parts. It can be used to form a hendiadys for instance - where 'x and y' isn't just a list of two separate nouns, but is more like adjective-noun in meaning - a 'y-ish x.' For example, "The Power and Glory of Rome" means effectively the glorious power of Rome. In cases like this 'and' is operating more like a particle, even though it is doing its normal job of conjoining words. This can happen in English, but not so often as it does in Greek, and usually in poetry rather than prose.

In both Greek and English (and other languages) initial 'and' can be used as a storytelling device, like in the Uncle Remus stories, or for emphasis or other reasons mentioned above. It has a wide variety of functions that change according to times and customs and dialects.

I don't think you can end a sentence with and. \:\)


Edited by The Pook (04/08/08 08:23 AM)

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8758 Members
16 Forums
13812 Topics
215858 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
BikerVet, MSusanElizabeth, Sumac, cocozh421, PKLA22
8758 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 32 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
wofahulicodoc 114
LukeJavan8 100
endymion6 96
A C Bowden 30
Tromboniator 13
Jackie 1
Storymom 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11610
tsuwm 10523
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
LukeJavan8 6691
AnnaStrophic 6511
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith