How to avoid beginning sentences with ‘and’ or ‘but’

It’s a ‘conversational’ writing device that, originally intended as a verbal condiment, has taken over the entire sandwich. Time to spit it out, cleanse your palate, and start over with a clean plate.

There’s a writing trend that drives me crazy.

AND I’m not going to tell you what it is.

BUT I’m betting you can guess.

AND I won’t have to go on much longer with this maddening affectation reminiscent of a kindergarten show-and-tell presentation.

AND I’m running out of ways to perpetuate this motif anyway.

BUT I won’t let that stop me.

As I’ve previously written, there’s a huge distinction between adopting a conversational tone and engaging in sloppy writing. The idea of “writing like you talk” was originally intended to wean corporate communicators (and others) off stilted, pedantic prose and jargon-laden gobbledygook.

Alas, we have ended up with a pandemic of people writing like a 5-year-old talks:

We went to a dairy farm. Aaaaaaand we saw cows. Aaaaaaand they milked one of the cows. Aaaaaaaand we saw an old-fashioned butter churn. Aaaaaaaand…

The occasional sentence-starting conjunction is fine. I don’t believe in absolutes; I do believe in moderation, and in “breaking rules” for a reason. But it must be done judiciously, for optimum effect.

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