25 Jan


I had some feedback from a client, earlier.

This client has been enjoyable to work with, and has been prompt in getting back to me with amends.

One of the requested changes is something which has come up with clients in the past. It’s very simple: the use of ‘and’ at the start of a sentence. My client queried it.

This is one of those occasions where the copywriter is right to have put what he has, but the client is also right in wanting it removed.

What am I waffling about?

Well, it’s grammatically correct to start a sentence with ‘and’. In fact, it’s grammatically correct to start a sentence with any coordinating conjunction (but, or, so, nor, yet). A coordinating conjunction links two parts of a sentence together, when both are of equal importance. So, you can end a sentence, have a full stop, then have the ‘And’ refer to the previous sentence.

However… my client is also correct in asking for ‘and’ to be removed from the start of the sentence.
Throughout school, college, and university, most of us were taught that you never, ever start a sentence with ‘and’ (or ‘but’, or ‘yet’ etc). We had it drummed into us. It was considered ‘bad grammar’.
This means that, irrespective of what’s actually right or wrong, most readers would see ‘and’ at the start of a sentence as an error. If they see it as an error, they may even view such a ‘mistake’ as unprofessional – reflective of the standards that company set themselves.
Not only that, the ‘and’ will get in the way of the key messages elsewhere within the copy / content. The reader could be so caught up on the irritating ‘error’ (‘Who starts a sentence with and?’), that they lose focus slightly. Nothing should get in the way of communication when it comes to a client’s copy/content. If that ‘and’ gets in the way, then it’s wrong, regardless of grammatical conventions.

So, although I could say that I’m technically right, my client is right overall: that ‘and’ gets in the way of the reader.

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