Tuesday, September 16, 2008

but but but but but

There's a new rule (guideline, suggestion, whatever) at work against starting sentences with "but." This is KILLING me. You know, when you only have 150 words in which to tell a story, sometimes you want to make a transition FAST. Say, in three letters. I was complaining to one of my editors today about this stupid rule, and he was like, eh, just write it with the buts, I'll get them out of there. I love that editor.

(If you learned you can't start sentences with "and" or "but," you learned wrong. It's one of those silly made-up grammar rules people throw around to make themselves feel superior, like the one about ending a sentence with a preposition. In some situations, starting with "and" or "but" is too casual, but it's not bad grammar.)

6 comments:

longdistancepunner said...

I'm having a similar transition issue - my word is as....
As so many things are going on at the same time in the chapter I'm writing, it is a transition crutch.

Thanks for appropriately noting the grammatical acceptability of starting sentences with but & and. My students really cling to this rule. I wish they would cling to another rule that would actually rid them of their real style & grammar problems!

Coloradan said...

If you haven't heard it already, remind me to tell you the story of a certain reporter who used her award acceptance speech to deliver a lecture on the impropriety of beginning spoken sentences with "so." Endearing!

towwas said...

Ooh, you must tell me! Someone I know? (Actually, I think maybe you have told me this story and I've just forgotten who it is.)

It used to drive me crazy when people started sentences with "so" (in speaking) but now I do it, too. Oh well.

erin*carly said...

i'm guilty of all these things. i think it came from a professor in college telling us to avoid starting sentences with "the" all the time. i may have taken it a little further than intended.

David J said...

I'll never forget a certain prof at OAM who used to circle every "which" in student papers and then write "go on a 'which' hunt!" in his comments. Apparently "which" sucks, while "that" is the bees knees.

My own personal grammar pet peeve is people who think that "myself" is simply a classier version of "I" or "me." As in, "Diane and myself will be having a meeting later on today... ." I just want to scream at them, "you're using that wrong!"

towwas said...

Ha! I'd always done which/that by ear - I didn't learn the rule until a copy editing seminar in grad school. I find it very useful to know.