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Bad style rules: using 'And' and 'But' to start a sentence


(Irvine) #1

I have been trying to learn how to use the rules editor and made a couple of style rules others may find of interest. As you can see from this Blog post http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/

While not technically wrong, except in rare circumstances, (for example dramatic effect,) it is usually considered to be sloppy writing if 'And' and 'But' are used to start a sentence. Anyway, I wrote a couple of rules to detect their misuse. They are more or less identical and between the two I have tested them extensively, with excellent results.

According to the directions on the rules editor page, this seems to be the easiest way to offer them for inclusion in LangaugeTool and pasting the output directly without any added formatting:

The 'And' rule:


And Technical not exactly wrong, but stylistically and should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely. http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/ Technical not exactly wrong, but stylistically 'and' should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely. And to help him forward, I sent him a letter and got a reply immediately. And it was not a good feeing and I got nervous. And yes, it is stylistically wrong to start a sentence with and. To help him forward, I sent him a letter and got a reply immediately. And it was not a good feeing and I got nervous. It was not a good feeling and I got nervous. And yes, it is stylistically wrong to start a sentence with and. Yes, it is stylistically wrong to start a sentence with and.

The 'But' rule:


But Technical not exactly wrong, but stylistically but should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely. http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/ Technical not exactly wrong, but stylistically 'but' should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely. But it is not a great writing style to start a sentence with but. But I like starting a sentence with but, it makes me feel good. But, why can't I use but to start a sentence? But it is stylisticaly wrong to start to start a sentence with but, but sometimes convenient for dramatic effect. It is not a great writing style to start a sentence with but. But I like starting a sentence with but, it makes me feel good. I like starting a sentence with but, it makes me feel good. But, why can't I use but to start a sentence? Why can't I use but to start a sentence? But it is stylistically wrong to start to start a sentence with but, but sometimes convenient for dramatic effect. It is stylistically wrong to start to start a sentence with but, but sometimes convenient for dramatic effect.

It is a shame about the lack of formatting, but I'm just following the instructions. I hope you find this useful.

Irvine


(Irvine) #2

I feel bad about the lack of formatting so here are the two rules again as I inserted them into at the bottom of the bad style category in my OpenOffice en/grammar.xml file.

<rule default="off" id="And" name="Start sentence with &apos;And&apos;">

	<pattern>
		<token postag='SENT_START'></token>
		<token>And</token>
	</pattern>
	<message>Technical not exactly wrong, but stylistically <suggestion>and</suggestion>should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely.</message>
	<url>http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/</url>
	<short>Bad style</short>
	<example type='incorrect'><marker>And</marker> yes, it shows a lack of style to start a sentence with and.</example>
	<example type='correct'>Yes, it shows a lack of style to start a sentence with and.</example>
</rule>


<rule default="off" id="But" name="Start sentence with &apos;But&apos;">

	<pattern>
		<token postag='SENT_START'></token>
		<token>But</token>
	</pattern>
	<message>Technical not exactly wrong, but stylistically <suggestion>but</suggestion> should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely.</message>
	<url>http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/</url>
	<short>Bad style</short>
	<example type='incorrect'><marker>But</marker> it is not a great writing style to start a sentence with but.</example>
	<example type='correct'>It is not a great writing style to start a sentence with but.</example>
</rule>

(Daniel Naber) #3

Thanks for your contribution! I have added these to LanguageTool, so the rules will show up in the daily build at
https://languagetool.org/download/snapshots/?C=M;O=D tonight.

As the rules are very similar, I have merged them into one:




<rule default="off" id="And" name="Sentence starting with 'And' or 'But'">    
             <pattern>
                 <token postag='SENT_START'></token>
                 <token regexp="yes">And|But</token>
             </pattern>
             <message>Technical not exactly wrong, but stylistically '\2' should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely.</message>
             <url>http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/</url>
             <short>Bad style</short>
             <example type='incorrect'><marker>And</marker> yes, it shows a lack of style to start a sentence with 'and'.</example>
             <example type='correct'>Yes, it shows a lack of style to start a sentence with 'and'.</example>
             <example type='incorrect'><marker>But</marker> it is not a great writing style to start a sentence with 'but'.</example>
             <example type='correct'>It is not a great writing style to start a sentence with 'but'.</example>
         </rule>

(Daniel Naber) #4

I wonder if "Technical not exactly wrong" shouldn't be "Technically not exactly wrong"?


(Irvine) #5

Thanks for pointing out what was wrong with that particular sentence. It had been bugging me for a while and I couldn't figure out why. Here is the corrected version:

<rule default="off" id="And" name="Sentence starting with 'And' or 'But'">    
            <pattern>
                <token postag='SENT_START'></token>
                <token regexp="yes">And|But</token>
            </pattern>
            <message>While it is not exactly wrong, stylistically '\2' should only be used to start a sentence for dramatic effect and even then rarely.</message>
            <url>http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/01/can-i-start-a-sentence-with-a-conjunction/</url>
            <short>Bad style</short>
            <example type='incorrect'><marker>And</marker> yes, it shows a lack of style to start a sentence with 'and'.</example>
            <example type='correct'>Yes, it shows a lack of style to start a sentence with 'and'.</example>
            <example type='incorrect'><marker>But</marker> it is not a great writing style to start a sentence with 'but'.</example>
            <example type='correct'>It is not a great writing style to start a sentence with 'but'.</example>
        </rule>