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#175636 - 04/06/08 11:13 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: Bigwig Rabbit]  
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 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.

#175637 - 04/06/08 11:25 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]  
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 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.

#175642 - 04/07/08 12:06 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: The Pook]  
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 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.

#175643 - 04/07/08 01:41 AM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]  
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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.

#175658 - 04/07/08 02:41 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: The Pook]  
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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.
#175689 - 04/08/08 12:21 PM Re: And to begin a sentence [Re: zmjezhd]  
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 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. \:\)

Last edited by The Pook; 04/08/08 12:23 PM.
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