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Five rules I'm not losing sleep over: #5 Starting with conjunctions

All week, I've been writing about things I'm not losing sleep over. The rules I've burned millions of calories stressing over that aren't important rules. And, in some cases, that aren't even rules.

 

Here's my list so far:

 

1. “More than” v. “over”

2. Question headlines

3. Repeating words in a story

4. Spelling out state names in body copy

 

And (drum roll, please) here's No. 5: 

 

Starting a sentence or paragraph with a conjuction

 

But, purists say, a conjunction is designed to join parts of a sentence.

 

And, some say, starting paragraphs and sentences with conjunctions is a crutch for bad writing or a cheap way to convey drama in your writing.

 

But, overall, what is it hurting? Is it hurting comprehension? If it is, then don't do it. If it isn't, snuggle down under the covers and sleep without counting ands and buts.

 

I've seen editors arbitrarily spiking any conjunction they find sticking out at the beginning of a graph or sentence.

 

This violates one of our key tenets as editors: First, do no harm. The second is, if you can't make it better, keep you hands off. Or it should be. There are times it make sense. And there are times it doesn't.

Just think before committing conjunction genocide on your copy.

 

And if you are going to hack them all out, make sure you're putting something better in their place.

 

Next: 5 things I am losing sleep over

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