Daily Archives: September 14, 2011

Grammar Wednesday

FANBOYS!

I have a number of pet peeves, so I’m going to work though them one at a time.  Today, you’re going to get the “coordinating conjunction starting a sentence”  peeve.

A coordinating conjunction is a word that connects a word, phrase, or clause to another.  Anyone remember Conjunction Junction?  Yeah – that; coordinating conjunctions are the words that put ideas together; For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So – FANBOYS.

These words are not, however, words to start new ideas, and here’s where we get into trouble.  Except when writing dialogue (or in very casual writing situations), it’s not okay to start a sentence with any of the FANBOYS; doing so almost always results in a sentence fragment.  Observe:

But it was because I was hungry.

And then she left.

So I kicked her.

Do these things work in creative writing?  Yes; in fact, I love to use, “and ANOTHER thing…!” but it is almost impossible to make a complete sentence that begins with a FANBOYS word because the coordinating conjunction tells you that there’s another idea that needs to come before this one.

So don’t do it.

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