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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (January 28, 2008)

Breaking the Rules! Part One

Often, students come to me with grammar rules that were instilled in them in school. Because students respect their teachers, they can find it difficult when I say it's time to break the rules.

But, most of the time, students can learn to let go. The use of the conjunction, "but," is a case in point. From an early age we are told to "never use 'but' to begin a sentence." I know I was.

Then, I had an editor. She helpfully changed my buried "however" and made the sentence begin with "but." Much more forceful and direct she argued. And, I had to agree!

So, here's the first rule to break. Take a chance and use a conjunction to begin a sentence here and there. You'll have plenty of company: novelists and journalists and poets are doing it all the time. 



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