“Never begin a sentence with  and, ” my college freshmen have been told. This is another one of those rules that somebody must have dreamed up in a rage of vengeance: a schoolmaster named Ichabod, disappointed in love, glowering down on his young charges, and thinking, “Yes, I shall make their lives miserable!

Word of the Day I am opening my Bible to the New Testament, at random. I read: “And he said unto his disciples, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.” I read: “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” I read: “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink.” If it is good enough for Almighty God, it had better be good enough for a dusty old English teacher.

The fact is, English stylists have  always  begun sentences with  and. Bede the Venerable did it in the eighth century. Chaucer did it in the fourteenth. Shakespeare did it in the sixteenth. Milton did it in the seventeenth, Swift did it in the eighteenth, Twain did it in the nineteenth, and Hemingway did it in the twentieth. Every single great English writer without exception has begun sentences with  and,  and plenty, too. It is the easy way to connect, loosely, one sentence with another. It’s swifter than the pedantic  in addition, comma,  or  furthermore, comma,  or  comma, moreover, comma. The Greeks began their sentences with their  kai,  the Hebrews began their sentences with their  w’,  and the Romans began their sentences with their atque. It’s natural. You can overdo it, of course. But then, you can begin too many sentences with  notwithstanding  or inasmuch as. As, for instance, two.

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