Re: Things not to put after a full stop.

Subject: Re: Things not to put after a full stop.
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 05:39:36 -0700 (PDT)

--- gururaj bs <gururaj_bs -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot- in> wrote:
> you said, words like "And", "because", "but" should
> not be used to begin a sentence. In simpler words, it
> means, do not start a sentence with conjunctions.
> What say?

Except that I think that's one of those so-called rules that isn't really a rule of
the language. It is a stylistic choice to say, "I will not begin sentences with a
conjunction." _But_ doing so does not violate any grammatical rule of the English
language, and starting sentences with conjunctions may actually enhance both the
communicative and the rhetorical value of the text, which I believe is the ultimate

What the writer uses as a counterbalance to such stylistic choices as whether to
begin sentences with conjunctions is the nature and needs of the audience. If
beginning sentences with conjunctions draws readers away from the content an into
contemplation of the stylistic choices of the writer, then I would question whether
or not the writer is communicating. That, to me, is the foundation of real
communication in writing: Does the writing accomplish its objective, or is it more
serving as a platform to call attention to itself? There are many types of writing
that can be admired for their stylistic components as well as what they communicate
to us. Some types of writing--poetry immediately comes to mind--involve stylistic
choices as an inherent part of the overall communication.

Tech Writing Tie-In: However, I believe that Technical Writing should not call
attention to itself stylistically. Technical Writing should be what Isaac Asimov
called 'plain glass writing' rather than 'stained glass writing.' The reader should
not be brought out of the text by stylistic choices that call attention to the text

To me, that is the question a writer must answer when considering whether to begin a
sentence with a conjunction or end one with a preposition or any of the other
pseudo-rules floating around in English Grammar Land.

Tom Murrell
mailto:tmurrell -at- columbus -dot- rr -dot- com
Personal Web Page - Last Updated 07/19/02
--The opinions expressed in this email are least I think they're mine...I'm almost positive.--

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