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Coordinating Conjunctions | Writing Style

Coordinating Conjunction Fragments

Coordinating Conjunctions

“My told me not to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions unless I finish them,” Peter said. “But I won’t.”

“Won’t what?” I asked. “Start sentences with coordinating conjunctions or finish them?”

“Oh… now I get it. You’re pretty clever.”

“And so I am.”

Definition and Examples

A coordinating conjunction joins words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance or emphasis. The seven coordinating conjunctions are easily remembered by the acronym, FANBOYS (For-And-Nor-But-Or-Yet-So). Examples: Jack and Jill; thinking quickly; but acting slowly; She left her job early, so she would be able to clean the house before the guests arrived.

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Read the rules.

Frequently, teachers will tell their students not to begin their sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Teachers give this advice because many students who use these sentence beginnings often fail to complete their sentences and wind up with fragments. However, writers many begin sentences with coordinating conjunctions under the following conditions:

  • An independent clause (a subject and predicate expressing a complete thought) must follow the beginning coordinating conjunction.
  • Don’t begin too many sentences in an essay with coordinating conjunctions. Sentence variety is important, so don’t overuse the same sentence structure.

Practice

Write the following sentences and [bracket] the conjunctions.

  1. Byron and Jake were late, not Pedro or Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, but hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy yet loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, nor will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing and snowboarding, for these sports cost too much and take up so much of their leisure time.

Re-write the sentence to eliminate the fragment.

But do not start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction unless you finish it.

Answers

  1. Byron [and] Jake were late, not Pedro [or] Tamara.
  2. Misty, my calico cat, loves to be petted, [but] hates to be scratched.
  3. Mandy hates the smell of cotton candy [yet] loves the taste and texture.
  4. Pedro refuses to sleep in the tent, [nor] will he sleep outside under the stars.
  5. The Larsens stopped skiing [and] snowboarding, [for] these sports cost too much [and] take up so much of their leisure time.

Pennington Publishing's Teaching Essay Strategies

Teaching Essay Strategies

For more essay rules and practice, check out the author’s Teaching Essay Strategies. This curriculum includes 42 essay strategy worksheets corresponding to teach the Common Core State Writing Standards, 8 on-demand writing fluencies, 8 writing process essays (4 argumentative and 4 informative/explanatory), 64  sentence revision and 64 rhetorical stance “openers,” writing posters, and helpful editing resources. 

Differentiate your essay instruction in this comprehensive writing curriculum with remedial writing worksheets, including sentence structure, grammar, thesis statements, errors in reasoning, and transitions.

Plus, get an e-comment bank of 438 prescriptive writing responses with an link to insert into Microsoft Word® for easy e-grading (works great with Google Docs),

Download the following 24 FREE Writing Style Posters to help your students learn the essay rules. Each has a funny or ironic statement (akin to “Let’s eat Grandma) to teach the memorable rule. 

Get the Writing Style Posters FREE Resource:

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