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Starting sentences with conjunctions

Conjunctions join clauses. A clause is a part of a sentence and has a subject and a verb.


A mistake language learners often make is to separate the two clauses with a full stop.


Common conjunctions are:

  • and

  • but

  • because

  • so

  • or

Example 1

This is an example from a learner.

My kids take swimming lessons every Tuesday. I have to wait for them for 1 hour. But I can study English.

The two clauses of note are:

  1. I have to wait for them for 1 hour.

  2. I can study English during it.

These can be joined into one sentence:

  1. I have to wait for them for 1 hour but I can study English.

Why is it wrong?

Sentences can start with 'but' (or any other conjunction) but must reflect how you would say it. Starting a sentence with a conjunction can only happen when the sentence is:

  • related to the previous sentence(s)

  • something you forgot to say; or

  • something surprising / dramatic / powerful

In our example, studying English while you wait for your kids, is neither of these.


Example 2

I like to cook miso soup. Because it tastes nostalgic.

We have two clauses here:

  1. I like to cook miso soup.

  2. It tastes nostalgic.

There is no reason to separate these clauses with a full stop. It should be:

I like to cook miso soup because it tastes nostalgic.

Example 3

My daughter went camping with her friend for the first time. And she sent me some photos.

We have two clauses here:

  1. My daughter went camping with her friend for the first time.

  2. She sent me some photos.

The second clause is not:

  • something you forgot to say

  • something surprising / dramatic / powerful

Therefore, you can easily join the two sentences using the conjunction 'and'.

My daughter went camping with her friend for the first time and she sent me some photos.

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