Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Why not?

Okay, your English teacher told you not to. But is there a rule anywhere that says we can't start a sentence with but, or and - or so for that matter?

I haven't found one, just assurances from other professional writers that there isn't one.

Let's acknowledge that your English teacher's advice was useful when you were starting out. Young writers might be tempted to start every second sentence with but, and or so.

Some myths of writing began as good advice and morphed into inflexible rules. The advice about never using but is a striking example. (See: In praise of but)

We should reserve sentences starting with but, and and so for special occasions.

Special occasions?

Use them when you want to emphasise a point. Otherwise use a comma.

'The advice was useful for young writers. But now many people think it's a rule of writing.'


'The advice was useful for young writers, but now many people think it's a rule of writing.'



About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder and managing director. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph enjoys trips to France. He lives in rural Canterbury.

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