Friday, August 29, 2008

The Sin of Conjunctions used as Transitions

If there's one thing I personally can't stand, it's using conjunctions at the beginning of sentences. AND, BUT and OR are conjunctions used to string phrases together. They do not belong at the beginning of sentences.

However, let me clarify something. Using conjunctions at the beginning of sentences is part of the American language, particularly for those with less education. They will also be found in "street" dialects. Therefore, it can be used sparingly --please, very sparingly!-- in dialogue. Such things are not acceptable in narrative unless you choose deliberately to convey to the reader that the POV character is of the lower classes or less educated.

Acceptable: He gave them a nasty glare. "And I wanna add that I don' like being bribed."

Unacceptable: And he added, "I don't like being bribed." (Two sins in one, there. A conjunction and a lazy dialogue tag.)

Instead of using poor grammar, here are some alternatives provided by Peggy Roberts, one of my former editors.

To Add:
and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.),
To Compare:
whereas, but, yet, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, on the other hand, on the contrary, by comparison, where, compared to, up against, balanced against, vis a vis, but, although, conversely, meanwhile, after all, in contrast, although this may be true
To Prove:
because, for, since, for the same reason, obviously, evidently, furthermore, moreover, besides, indeed, in fact, in addition, in any case, that is
To Show Exception:
yet, still, however, nevertheless, in spite of, despite, of course, once in a while, sometimes
To Show Time:
immediately, thereafter, soon, after a few hours, finally, then, later, previously, formerly, first (second, etc.), next, and then
To Repeat:
in brief, as I have said, as I have noted, as has been noted,
To Emphasize:
definitely, extremely, obviously, in fact, indeed, in any case, absolutely, positively, naturally, surprisingly, always, forever, perennially, eternally, never, emphatically, unquestionably, without a doubt, certainly, undeniably, without reservation
To Show Sequence:
first, second, third, and so forth. A, B, C, and so forth. next, then, following this, at this time, now, at this point, after, afterward, subsequently, finally, consequently, previously, before this, simultaneously, concurrently, thus, therefore, hence, next, and then, soon
To Give an Example:
for example, for instance, in this case, in another case, on this occasion, in this situation, take the case of, to demonstrate, to illustrate, as an illustration, to illustrate
To Summarize or Conclude:
in brief, on the whole, summing up, to conclude, in conclusion, as I have shown, as I have said, hence, therefore, accordingly, thus, as a result, consequently, on the whole,

More Transition Markers to use in place of Conjunctions below.

Some Useful Transition Markers
To repeat an idea just stated: In other words, That is, To repeat, Again,
To restate an idea more precisely: To be exact, To be specific, To be precise, More specifically, More precisely,
To illustrate an idea: For example, For instance, In particular, To illustrate, In this manner, Thus,
To mark a new idea as an addition to what has been said: Similarly, Also, Too, Besides, Furthermore, Further, Moreover, In addition,
To announce a contrast, a change in direction: Yet, However, Still, Nevertheless, On the other hand, In contrast, Instead of, On the contrary, Conversely, Notwithstanding, In spite of this,
To show cause and effect: As a result, For this reason, Therefore, Hence, Consequently, Accordingly,
Time: At once, In the interim, At length, Immediately, At last, Meanwhile, In the meantime, Presently, At the same time, Shortly, In the end, Temporarily, Thereafter,
Conclusion: In short, To conclude, In brief, On the whole, In summary, To sum up,

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