Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Breaking the Rules

From the movie, "Finding Forrester:"

— Paragraph three starts with a conjunction, "and." You should never start a sentence with a conjunction."
— Sure you can.
— No.
— It's a firm rule.
— No.
— It was a firm rule. Sometimes using a conjunction at the start of a sentence ... makes it stand out. And that may be what the writer's trying to do.
— And what is the risk?
— Doing it too much. It's a distraction and could give your piece a run-on feeling.
— But the rule on using "and" or "but" at the start of a sentence is pretty shaky. Even though it's still taught by too many professors. Some of the best writers have ignored that rule for years, including you.
This reminds us why we loved this movie. Rules can be a wonderful thing for consistency and clarity. But for art's sake, those who know what they're doing must break them!

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