Discussion:
sentence-initial "but": how could anyone think it's wrong?
(too old to reply)
g***@gmail.com
2018-09-27 05:05:34 UTC
Permalink
Greetings,

To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.

I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.

I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.

How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?

Thank you. Cheers.
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-09-27 10:45:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2018-09-27 12:04:36 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 03:45:16 -0700 (PDT), Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
Conjunctions can conjoin sentences or paragraphs even though this might
pain purists.

The OED's long entry for "but, prep., adv., conj., and n.2" has this:

12. In an independent clause within a compound sentence (usually
after a semicolon or colon), or at the beginning of a following
sentence.

a. Introducing a statement of the nature of an exception, objection,
limitation, or contrast to what has gone before: however, on the
other hand, moreover, yet.

One of the quotations is from the Bible. Including the preceding
sentence it is:

John.19
[9] And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus,
Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.

Or should we perhaps classify "but" used that way as an adverb?
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Peter Moylan
2018-09-28 02:52:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
One of the quotations is from the Bible. Including the preceding
John.19 [9] And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto
Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Or should we perhaps classify "but" used that way as an adverb?
I have vague memories of seeing multiple classical Greek sentences
beginning with και δε, which I think means "and but".
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Peter T. Daniels
2018-09-28 03:32:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
One of the quotations is from the Bible. Including the preceding
John.19 [9] And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto
Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Or should we perhaps classify "but" used that way as an adverb?
I have vague memories of seeing multiple classical Greek sentences
beginning with και δε, which I think means "and but".
And that construction has been calqued into Syriac. It's very unSemitic!
occam
2018-10-06 21:44:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 03:45:16 -0700 (PDT), Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
Conjunctions can conjoin sentences or paragraphs even though this might
pain purists.
12. In an independent clause within a compound sentence (usually
after a semicolon or colon), or at the beginning of a following
sentence.
a. Introducing a statement of the nature of an exception, objection,
limitation, or contrast to what has gone before: however, on the
other hand, moreover, yet.
One of the quotations is from the Bible. Including the preceding
John.19
[9] And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus,
Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Or should we perhaps classify "but" used that way as an adverb?
And also...

(Luke 2 King James Version (KJV))

2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from
Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth,
into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because
he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished
that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling
clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in
the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the
Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
RHDraney
2018-10-07 05:47:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by occam
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth,
into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because
he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished
that she should be delivered.
And that, brethren and cistern, is how Jesus came to be what is now
known as an anchor baby....r
Madhu
2018-10-08 02:34:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Conjunctions can conjoin sentences or paragraphs even though this might
pain purists.
On another topic I posted a link to pdf to a scanned newsletter of
the sf wodehouse club that included the proclamation of the mayor of
wodehouse day on august 15th 1987. Every sentence starts off with an
uppercased conjunction - WHEREAS. (pdf page 9/12
<www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v8_nr4.pdf>) [PS: I'm still hoping some
knowledgeable soul would answer my question on a wodehouse reference
***@leonis4.robolove.meer.net]

A
PROCLAMATION
From The
Office of the Mayor
San Francisco

WHEREAS
the 20th Century has heen entertained and
enriched by the p le a s ur a bl e gifts and rare humor
of P. G. Wodehouse in h i s numerous writings; and

WHEREAS
the writing s of P. G. Wodehouse extol the virtues
of tolernce, light - heartedness , flouting of life's
absurdities and the propagation of cheer, etc.
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2018-10-08 07:16:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madhu
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Conjunctions can conjoin sentences or paragraphs even though this might
pain purists.
On another topic I posted a link to pdf to a scanned newsletter of
the sf wodehouse club that included the proclamation of the mayor of
wodehouse day on august 15th 1987. Every sentence starts off with an
uppercased conjunction - WHEREAS. (pdf page 9/12
<www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v8_nr4.pdf>) [PS: I'm still hoping some
knowledgeable soul would answer my question on a wodehouse reference
We can't answer the question if you don't tell us what the question is.
Maybe you want me to click on that suspicious-looking link, but I'm not
going to do that.
--
athel
Madhu
2018-10-08 14:30:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
[PS: I'm still hoping some knowledgeable soul would answer my
question on a wodehouse reference
We can't answer the question if you don't tell us what the question
is. Maybe you want me to click on that suspicious-looking link, but
I'm not going to do that.
It was one of his digs at vegetarianism: one had to be vegetarian in a
previous birth in order to levitate. I think it was some drones member
who is narrating, and then he mentions fakirs and then mentions a friend
who tried levitating but couldnt because he had eaten beef in a past
life. (i may have invented some details when trying to remember where I
read this)

Long shot but maybe it is familiar to someone?

[The link is just the harmless Message-ID of my post in the other
"Nagini" thread. I cannot use GG but you can look it up by pasting it
on al.howardknight.net and get a text only version of the message but
that site also links to doubleclick.com trackers for google to track
you, so I didn't give a url]
s***@gmail.com
2018-10-11 02:02:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madhu
Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
[PS: I'm still hoping some knowledgeable soul would answer my
question on a wodehouse reference
We can't answer the question if you don't tell us what the question
is. Maybe you want me to click on that suspicious-looking link, but
I'm not going to do that.
[some re-ordering for associativity]
Post by Madhu
[The link is just the harmless Message-ID of my post in the other
"Nagini" thread. I cannot use GG but you can look it up by pasting it
on al.howardknight.net and get a text only version of the message but
that site also links to doubleclick.com trackers for google to track
you, so I didn't give a url]
Don't worry, anybody who thinks you're important has you tracked already.
But if you prefix the message-id with 'message-id:', some newsreaders can
find the message if it's in local store or still on the server.
Post by Madhu
It was one of his digs at vegetarianism: one had to be vegetarian in a
previous birth in order to levitate. I think it was some drones member
who is narrating, and then he mentions fakirs and then mentions a friend
who tried levitating but couldnt because he had eaten beef in a past
life. (i may have invented some details when trying to remember where I
read this)
Long shot but maybe it is familiar to someone?
Alas, Chaslres hasn't dropped in for a while. I'm not sure if we have
any other posters who have done a Wodehouse tour.


/dps

Richard Tobin
2018-10-08 12:51:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madhu
On another topic I posted a link to pdf to a scanned newsletter of
the sf wodehouse club that included the proclamation of the mayor of
wodehouse day on august 15th 1987. Every sentence starts off with an
uppercased conjunction - WHEREAS. (pdf page 9/12
<www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v8_nr4.pdf>)
Each *clause* starts with whereas, except the last one, and together
they form a single rather long sentence. "Whereas" in this context
means "in view of the fact that", and is commonly used in this sort
of (mock-)official document.

-- Richard
RHDraney
2018-10-08 13:57:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Madhu
On another topic I posted a link to pdf to a scanned newsletter of
the sf wodehouse club that included the proclamation of the mayor of
wodehouse day on august 15th 1987. Every sentence starts off with an
uppercased conjunction - WHEREAS. (pdf page 9/12
<www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v8_nr4.pdf>)
Each *clause* starts with whereas, except the last one, and together
they form a single rather long sentence. "Whereas" in this context
means "in view of the fact that", and is commonly used in this sort
of (mock-)official document.
Cf Kipling's "If"....r
Madhu
2018-10-08 02:35:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
Conjunctions can conjoin sentences or paragraphs even though this might
pain purists.
On another topic I posted a link to pdf to a scanned newsletter of
the sf wodehouse club that included the proclamation of the mayor of
wodehouse day on august 15th 1987. Every sentence starts off with an
uppercased conjunction - WHEREAS. (pdf page 9/12
<www.wodehouse.org/extra/PL/PL_v8_nr4.pdf>) [PS: I'm still hoping some
knowledgeable soul would answer my question on a wodehouse reference
***@leonis4.robolove.meer.net]

A
PROCLAMATION
From The
Office of the Mayor
San Francisco

WHEREAS
the 20th Century has heen entertained and
enriched by the p le a s ur a bl e gifts and rare humor
of P. G. Wodehouse in h i s numerous writings; and

WHEREAS
the writing s of P. G. Wodehouse extol the virtues
of tolernce, light - heartedness , flouting of life's
absurdities and the propagation of cheer, etc.
s***@my-deja.com
2018-09-27 19:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
But and ben can be found in the dictionary.
g***@gmail.com
2018-09-27 20:34:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
I looked through a number of grammar books yesterday to see
if I could find any support for this non-rule and found none.
The last two major comprehensive grammars of the language --
Quirk et al. (1985) and Huddleston and Pullum (2002) -- do not
even mention the misconception or feel it necessary to expressly
condone beginning sentences with "But." But both of those revered
tomes begin sentences with "But" regularly, almost on every page.

Regarding your little argument, Madrigal Gurneyhalt, I did find
a passage which addresses the main idea. It's in an old grammar
for nonlinguists, called _A Grammar of Present-Day English_, by
Pence & Emery (1947 and 1963). They say: "Inasmuch as a sentence is
a complete grammatical entity, it cannot be thought of as being
joined _grammatically_ to another sentence, although, of course, it
may be joined to another sentence rhetorically. Hence, _and, but,
for, or, nor_, at the beginning of a sentence may rightly be
regarded as transitional adverbs rather than as conjunctions" (pp.
105-106). And they add the following footnote:

"Of the many myths concerning 'correct' English, one of the most
persistent is the belief that it is somehow improper to begin a
sentence with one of these words. The construction is, of course,
widely used today and has been widely used for generations, for
the very good reason that it is an effective means of achieving
coherence between sentences and between larger units of discourse,
such as paragraphs."

Interestingly, in _The King's English_, not only do the Fowler
brothers not proscribe sentence-initial "but," but they use it
regularly. Opening the book to the part where they prescribe their
intricate views of how they believe "shall" and "will" ought to be
used, I found four sentences of theirs beginning with "But" in a
mere two pages:

"With _will_, the meaning must be: We won't call them three or
four to one, because that would be exaggeration. But the meaning is
intended to be: We will call them that, and it will be no
exaggeration. . . . It is possible that this is the use of _will_
described as the 'habitual' use -- he will often stand on his
head -- under Rule 1. But this is very rare, though admissible, in
the first person of the present. . . . In the next two, if 'I think',
and the if-clause, were removed, the _shall_ and _will_ would stand,
expressing resolve according to Rule 2. But with those additions it
is clear that prophecy or pure future is meant; and _shall_ and _will_
should be _will_ and _shall_. . . . But with the plain-future system
there is difficulty and some inconsistency" (_The Kings English_, 1906,
pp. 151-152).
Tony Cooper
2018-09-28 01:48:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
It's in an old grammar
for nonlinguists, called _A Grammar of Present-Day English_, by
Pence & Emery (1947 and 1963).
That's what I've suspected for a long time. Linguists have their own
grammar.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
g***@gmail.com
2018-09-28 02:34:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tony Cooper
Post by g***@gmail.com
It's in an old grammar
for nonlinguists, called _A Grammar of Present-Day English_, by
Pence & Emery (1947 and 1963).
That's what I've suspected for a long time. Linguists have their own
grammar.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
The phrase "a grammar" can refer to a work on the grammar of a language.
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2018-09-28 11:41:40 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 21:48:38 -0400, Tony Cooper
Post by Tony Cooper
Post by g***@gmail.com
It's in an old grammar
for nonlinguists, called _A Grammar of Present-Day English_, by
Pence & Emery (1947 and 1963).
That's what I've suspected for a long time. Linguists have their own
grammar.
<smile>
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
g***@gmail.com
2018-09-30 06:09:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
I looked through a number of grammar books yesterday to see
if I could find any support for this non-rule and found none.
The last two major comprehensive grammars of the language --
Quirk et al. (1985) and Huddleston and Pullum (2002) -- do not
even mention the misconception or feel it necessary to expressly
condone beginning sentences with "But." But both of those revered
tomes begin sentences with "But" regularly, almost on every page.
Regarding your little argument, Madrigal Gurneyhalt, I did find
a passage which addresses the main idea. It's in an old grammar
for nonlinguists, called _A Grammar of Present-Day English_, by
Pence & Emery (1947 and 1963). They say: "Inasmuch as a sentence is
a complete grammatical entity, it cannot be thought of as being
joined _grammatically_ to another sentence, although, of course, it
may be joined to another sentence rhetorically. Hence, _and, but,
for, or, nor_, at the beginning of a sentence may rightly be
regarded as transitional adverbs rather than as conjunctions" (pp.
"Of the many myths concerning 'correct' English, one of the most
persistent is the belief that it is somehow improper to begin a
sentence with one of these words. The construction is, of course,
widely used today and has been widely used for generations, for
the very good reason that it is an effective means of achieving
coherence between sentences and between larger units of discourse,
such as paragraphs."
Interestingly, in _The King's English_, not only do the Fowler
brothers not proscribe sentence-initial "but," but they use it
regularly. Opening the book to the part where they prescribe their
intricate views of how they believe "shall" and "will" ought to be
used, I found four sentences of theirs beginning with "But" in a
"With _will_, the meaning must be: We won't call them three or
four to one, because that would be exaggeration. But the meaning is
intended to be: We will call them that, and it will be no
exaggeration. . . . It is possible that this is the use of _will_
described as the 'habitual' use -- he will often stand on his
head -- under Rule 1. But this is very rare, though admissible, in
the first person of the present. . . . In the next two, if 'I think',
and the if-clause, were removed, the _shall_ and _will_ would stand,
expressing resolve according to Rule 2. But with those additions it
is clear that prophecy or pure future is meant; and _shall_ and _will_
should be _will_ and _shall_. . . . But with the plain-future system
there is difficulty and some inconsistency" (_The Kings English_, 1906,
pp. 151-152).
Good news -- it's also in Strunk & White, who did not hesitate to
begin a sentence with "But." Here's a paragraph with 2 instances:

"In notebooks, in newspapers, in handbooks of literature, summaries
of one kind or another may be indispensable, and for children in
primary schools retelling a story in their own words is a useful
exercise. But in the criticism or interpretation of literature, be
careful to avoid dropping into summary. It may be necessary to
devote one or two sentences to indicating the subject, or the
opening situation, of the work being discussed, or to cite numerous
details to illustrate its qualities. But you should aim at writing
an orderly discussion supported by evidence, not a summary with
occasional comment. [. . .]" (_The Elements of Style_, p. 32)

P.S. A quick glance at Chomsky's _Syntactic Structures_ (1957) also
yielded a plethora of examples, as did a quick glance at Hawthorne's
_The Scarlet Letter_, in which a number of paragraphs begin with "But."
Peter T. Daniels
2018-09-30 13:29:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
I looked through a number of grammar books yesterday to see
if I could find any support for this non-rule and found none.
The last two major comprehensive grammars of the language --
Quirk et al. (1985) and Huddleston and Pullum (2002) -- do not
even mention the misconception or feel it necessary to expressly
condone beginning sentences with "But." But both of those revered
tomes begin sentences with "But" regularly, almost on every page.
Regarding your little argument, Madrigal Gurneyhalt, I did find
a passage which addresses the main idea. It's in an old grammar
for nonlinguists, called _A Grammar of Present-Day English_, by
Pence & Emery (1947 and 1963). They say: "Inasmuch as a sentence is
a complete grammatical entity, it cannot be thought of as being
joined _grammatically_ to another sentence, although, of course, it
may be joined to another sentence rhetorically. Hence, _and, but,
for, or, nor_, at the beginning of a sentence may rightly be
regarded as transitional adverbs rather than as conjunctions" (pp.
"Of the many myths concerning 'correct' English, one of the most
persistent is the belief that it is somehow improper to begin a
sentence with one of these words. The construction is, of course,
widely used today and has been widely used for generations, for
the very good reason that it is an effective means of achieving
coherence between sentences and between larger units of discourse,
such as paragraphs."
Interestingly, in _The King's English_, not only do the Fowler
brothers not proscribe sentence-initial "but," but they use it
regularly. Opening the book to the part where they prescribe their
intricate views of how they believe "shall" and "will" ought to be
used, I found four sentences of theirs beginning with "But" in a
"With _will_, the meaning must be: We won't call them three or
four to one, because that would be exaggeration. But the meaning is
intended to be: We will call them that, and it will be no
exaggeration. . . . It is possible that this is the use of _will_
described as the 'habitual' use -- he will often stand on his
head -- under Rule 1. But this is very rare, though admissible, in
the first person of the present. . . . In the next two, if 'I think',
and the if-clause, were removed, the _shall_ and _will_ would stand,
expressing resolve according to Rule 2. But with those additions it
is clear that prophecy or pure future is meant; and _shall_ and _will_
should be _will_ and _shall_. . . . But with the plain-future system
there is difficulty and some inconsistency" (_The Kings English_, 1906,
pp. 151-152).
Good news -- it's also in Strunk & White, who did not hesitate to
"In notebooks, in newspapers, in handbooks of literature, summaries
of one kind or another may be indispensable, and for children in
primary schools retelling a story in their own words is a useful
exercise. But in the criticism or interpretation of literature, be
careful to avoid dropping into summary. It may be necessary to
devote one or two sentences to indicating the subject, or the
opening situation, of the work being discussed, or to cite numerous
details to illustrate its qualities. But you should aim at writing
an orderly discussion supported by evidence, not a summary with
occasional comment. [. . .]" (_The Elements of Style_, p. 32)
That's in the 3rd edition. It goes all the way back to Strunk's 1st
edition in 1920. But if you'd looked a page earlier, you'd have found
him beginning a _paragraph_ with "But." More to the point, there is
no "rule" anywhere in any of the editions against beginning a sentence
with "But," and under "But" in the little glossary are references to
two places where such a "prohibition" might have been articulated. I
don't know what subsequent editors might have done in the 4th and
following editions.

In the book I just edited, many sentences began with ". But," as if
the dissertation advisor had told the author never to begin a sentence
with "However." I changed nearly all to ", but" but left just one where
the sentence-initial "But" was justified (but not with a comma).
Post by g***@gmail.com
P.S. A quick glance at Chomsky's _Syntactic Structures_ (1957) also
yielded a plethora of examples, as did a quick glance at Hawthorne's
_The Scarlet Letter_, in which a number of paragraphs begin with "But."
Neither Chomsky nor Hawthorne set himself up as an arbiter of "style"
or of "rules" (of this kind). One could do worse than emulate Hawthorne's
style and better than emulate Chomsky's.
b***@aol.com
2018-09-30 13:55:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
I looked through a number of grammar books yesterday to see
if I could find any support for this non-rule and found none.
The last two major comprehensive grammars of the language --
Quirk et al. (1985) and Huddleston and Pullum (2002) -- do not
even mention the misconception or feel it necessary to expressly
condone beginning sentences with "But." But both of those revered
tomes begin sentences with "But" regularly, almost on every page.
Regarding your little argument, Madrigal Gurneyhalt, I did find
a passage which addresses the main idea. It's in an old grammar
for nonlinguists, called _A Grammar of Present-Day English_, by
Pence & Emery (1947 and 1963). They say: "Inasmuch as a sentence is
a complete grammatical entity, it cannot be thought of as being
joined _grammatically_ to another sentence, although, of course, it
may be joined to another sentence rhetorically. Hence, _and, but,
for, or, nor_, at the beginning of a sentence may rightly be
regarded as transitional adverbs rather than as conjunctions" (pp.
"Of the many myths concerning 'correct' English, one of the most
persistent is the belief that it is somehow improper to begin a
sentence with one of these words. The construction is, of course,
widely used today and has been widely used for generations, for
the very good reason that it is an effective means of achieving
coherence between sentences and between larger units of discourse,
such as paragraphs."
Interestingly, in _The King's English_, not only do the Fowler
brothers not proscribe sentence-initial "but," but they use it
regularly. Opening the book to the part where they prescribe their
intricate views of how they believe "shall" and "will" ought to be
used, I found four sentences of theirs beginning with "But" in a
"With _will_, the meaning must be: We won't call them three or
four to one, because that would be exaggeration. But the meaning is
intended to be: We will call them that, and it will be no
exaggeration. . . . It is possible that this is the use of _will_
described as the 'habitual' use -- he will often stand on his
head -- under Rule 1. But this is very rare, though admissible, in
the first person of the present. . . . In the next two, if 'I think',
and the if-clause, were removed, the _shall_ and _will_ would stand,
expressing resolve according to Rule 2. But with those additions it
is clear that prophecy or pure future is meant; and _shall_ and _will_
should be _will_ and _shall_. . . . But with the plain-future system
there is difficulty and some inconsistency" (_The Kings English_, 1906,
pp. 151-152).
Good news -- it's also in Strunk & White, who did not hesitate to
"In notebooks, in newspapers, in handbooks of literature, summaries
of one kind or another may be indispensable, and for children in
primary schools retelling a story in their own words is a useful
exercise. But in the criticism or interpretation of literature, be
careful to avoid dropping into summary. It may be necessary to
devote one or two sentences to indicating the subject, or the
opening situation, of the work being discussed, or to cite numerous
details to illustrate its qualities. But you should aim at writing
an orderly discussion supported by evidence, not a summary with
occasional comment. [. . .]" (_The Elements of Style_, p. 32)
P.S. A quick glance at Chomsky's _Syntactic Structures_ (1957) also
yielded a plethora of examples, as did a quick glance at Hawthorne's
_The Scarlet Letter_, in which a number of paragraphs begin with "But."
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
Ken Blake
2018-09-30 16:32:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but." As far as I'm concerned, there's no real
difference between

1. "John and Mary are married, but they haven't been married long."

and

2. "John and Mary are married. But they haven't been married long."

To me, 2 puts extra emphasis on the word "but." Moreover, although in
writing, it's apparent that the second sentence in 2 begins with
"but," in speech the difference between 1 and 2 would be lost.
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-09-30 17:08:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but." As far as I'm concerned, there's no real
difference between
1. "John and Mary are married, but they haven't been married long."
and
2. "John and Mary are married. But they haven't been married long."
To me, 2 puts extra emphasis on the word "but." Moreover, although in
writing, it's apparent that the second sentence in 2 begins with
"but," in speech the difference between 1 and 2 would be lost.
Not necessarily. There are a number of contexts in which you might
take care to separate the 'but' by emphasis or tone.

"Soccerball United are on a seven game winning streak. But can it
survive the night?"
Ken Blake
2018-09-30 18:32:14 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 10:08:11 -0700 (PDT), Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but." As far as I'm concerned, there's no real
difference between
1. "John and Mary are married, but they haven't been married long."
and
2. "John and Mary are married. But they haven't been married long."
To me, 2 puts extra emphasis on the word "but." Moreover, although in
writing, it's apparent that the second sentence in 2 begins with
"but," in speech the difference between 1 and 2 would be lost.
Not necessarily. There are a number of contexts in which you might
take care to separate the 'but' by emphasis or tone.
True. I should have said "...would usually be lost."
Jerry Friedman
2018-09-30 20:01:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but."
...

I think you're in the large majority.
--
Jerry Friedman
Ken Blake
2018-09-30 20:37:24 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant of
posters in AUE.
Peter T. Daniels
2018-10-01 01:23:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant of
posters in AUE.
Who in AUE has taken a contrary position?

Of course the view of a habitual "killfiler" will be skewed.
g***@gmail.com
2018-10-06 21:36:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant of
posters in AUE.
Who in AUE has taken a contrary position?
Thank you all for your feedback.

I haven't yet had an opportunity to go through the Language Log
material, but I really appreciate the link and searching tip, Jerry.

I myself don't view starting a sentence with "But" as exactly the
same grammatical thing as starting a sentence with "And" or "Or."
Starting a sentence with "And" often seems to me like a dispensable
rhetorical flourish, whereas I often find starting a sentence with
"But" to be almost necessary (given the undesirability in many
cases of using "[comma] but" instead, which might make the sentence
obese, or "However," which I tend to find pretentious and rhetorically
impotent at the beginning of a sentence).

It is "and" and "or" that are true-blue conjunctions. "But" and the
other FANBOYS* are individuated in weird ways. It's amusing, for
instance, that we can say "and yet" and "and so" but not *"and for"
or *"and but." And why is it that we can say things like "I like
chocolate, and she vanilla" but not *"I like chocolate, but she vanilla"? Different properties are clearly at work. I'm aware that this has been
observed before in various grammars of English. A former syntax
professor of mine, who got his Ph.D. at Yale in 1971 under David
Permutter, said once in class that the _formal_ syntax of "but" isn't
yet fully understood!

--------------------------
*footnote: My use of the acronym FANBOYS is a bit of a joke; I brawled
with a member here about it a long time ago. Linguistically, it has
no significance. Still, it's a useful and conventional pedagogical way
to refer to "for," "and," "but," "or," "yet," and "so" all at once.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course the view of a habitual "killfiler" will be skewed.
Peter T. Daniels
2018-10-07 02:53:31 UTC
Permalink
What's wrong with "I like chocolate, but she vanilla"?
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant of
posters in AUE.
Who in AUE has taken a contrary position?
Thank you all for your feedback.
I haven't yet had an opportunity to go through the Language Log
material, but I really appreciate the link and searching tip, Jerry.
I myself don't view starting a sentence with "But" as exactly the
same grammatical thing as starting a sentence with "And" or "Or."
Starting a sentence with "And" often seems to me like a dispensable
rhetorical flourish, whereas I often find starting a sentence with
"But" to be almost necessary (given the undesirability in many
cases of using "[comma] but" instead, which might make the sentence
obese, or "However," which I tend to find pretentious and rhetorically
impotent at the beginning of a sentence).
It is "and" and "or" that are true-blue conjunctions. "But" and the
other FANBOYS* are individuated in weird ways. It's amusing, for
instance, that we can say "and yet" and "and so" but not *"and for"
or *"and but." And why is it that we can say things like "I like
chocolate, and she vanilla" but not *"I like chocolate, but she vanilla"? Different properties are clearly at work. I'm aware that this has been
observed before in various grammars of English. A former syntax
professor of mine, who got his Ph.D. at Yale in 1971 under David
Permutter, said once in class that the _formal_ syntax of "but" isn't
yet fully understood!
--------------------------
*footnote: My use of the acronym FANBOYS is a bit of a joke; I brawled
with a member here about it a long time ago. Linguistically, it has
no significance. Still, it's a useful and conventional pedagogical way
to refer to "for," "and," "but," "or," "yet," and "so" all at once.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course the view of a habitual "killfiler" will be skewed.
Kerr-Mudd,John
2018-10-07 11:36:11 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 07 Oct 2018 02:53:31 GMT, "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
What's wrong with "I like chocolate, but she vanilla"?
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always
improper to begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially
undertook to demonstrate. It just reveals an open secret,
i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly) take liberties with
grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with
beginning a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant
of posters in AUE.
Who in AUE has taken a contrary position?
Thank you all for your feedback.
I haven't yet had an opportunity to go through the Language Log
material, but I really appreciate the link and searching tip, Jerry.
I myself don't view starting a sentence with "But" as exactly the
same grammatical thing as starting a sentence with "And" or "Or."
Starting a sentence with "And" often seems to me like a dispensable
rhetorical flourish, whereas I often find starting a sentence with
"But" to be almost necessary (given the undesirability in many
cases of using "[comma] but" instead, which might make the sentence
obese, or "However," which I tend to find pretentious and
rhetorically impotent at the beginning of a sentence).
It is "and" and "or" that are true-blue conjunctions. "But" and the
other FANBOYS* are individuated in weird ways. It's amusing, for
instance, that we can say "and yet" and "and so" but not *"and for"
or *"and but." And why is it that we can say things like "I like
chocolate, and she vanilla" but not *"I like chocolate, but she
vanilla"? Different properties are clearly at work. I'm aware that
this has been observed before in various grammars of English. A
former syntax professor of mine, who got his Ph.D. at Yale in 1971
under David Permutter, said once in class that the _formal_ syntax of
"but" isn't yet fully understood!
--------------------------
*footnote: My use of the acronym FANBOYS is a bit of a joke; I
brawled with a member here about it a long time ago. Linguistically,
it has no significance. Still, it's a useful and conventional
pedagogical way to refer to "for," "and," "but," "or," "yet," and
"so" all at once.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course the view of a habitual "killfiler" will be skewed.
The answer comes before the question.
What's wrong with top-posting?
--
Bah, and indeed, Humbug.
Peter T. Daniels
2018-10-07 12:28:04 UTC
Permalink
OMG, Kerr-Mudd read a message of mine!

Didn't address the question, though.
Post by Kerr-Mudd,John
On Sun, 07 Oct 2018 02:53:31 GMT, "Peter T. Daniels"
Post by Peter T. Daniels
What's wrong with "I like chocolate, but she vanilla"?
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always
improper to begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially
undertook to demonstrate. It just reveals an open secret,
i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly) take liberties with
grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with
beginning a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant
of posters in AUE.
Who in AUE has taken a contrary position?
Thank you all for your feedback.
I haven't yet had an opportunity to go through the Language Log
material, but I really appreciate the link and searching tip, Jerry.
I myself don't view starting a sentence with "But" as exactly the
same grammatical thing as starting a sentence with "And" or "Or."
Starting a sentence with "And" often seems to me like a dispensable
rhetorical flourish, whereas I often find starting a sentence with
"But" to be almost necessary (given the undesirability in many
cases of using "[comma] but" instead, which might make the sentence
obese, or "However," which I tend to find pretentious and
rhetorically impotent at the beginning of a sentence).
It is "and" and "or" that are true-blue conjunctions. "But" and the
other FANBOYS* are individuated in weird ways. It's amusing, for
instance, that we can say "and yet" and "and so" but not *"and for"
or *"and but." And why is it that we can say things like "I like
chocolate, and she vanilla" but not *"I like chocolate, but she
vanilla"? Different properties are clearly at work. I'm aware that
this has been observed before in various grammars of English. A
former syntax professor of mine, who got his Ph.D. at Yale in 1971
under David Permutter, said once in class that the _formal_ syntax of
"but" isn't yet fully understood!
--------------------------
*footnote: My use of the acronym FANBOYS is a bit of a joke; I
brawled with a member here about it a long time ago. Linguistically,
it has no significance. Still, it's a useful and conventional
pedagogical way to refer to "for," "and," "but," "or," "yet," and
"so" all at once.
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Of course the view of a habitual "killfiler" will be skewed.
The answer comes before the question.
What's wrong with top-posting?
--
Bah, and indeed, Humbug.
Peter Moylan
2018-10-08 01:26:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kerr-Mudd,John
On Sun, 07 Oct 2018 02:53:31 GMT, "Peter T. Daniels"
[Nothing, as far as I could see.]
Post by Kerr-Mudd,John
The answer comes before the question. What's wrong with top-posting?
When I encounter a post with excessive quoting, I go straight to the end
to see the new material. If there's no new material there, I just skip to
the next message.

So, in fact, top-posting is good. It means that readers don't have to
read what you wrote.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Madrigal Gurneyhalt
2018-10-07 10:40:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant of
posters in AUE.
Who in AUE has taken a contrary position?
Thank you all for your feedback.
I haven't yet had an opportunity to go through the Language Log
material, but I really appreciate the link and searching tip, Jerry.
I myself don't view starting a sentence with "But" as exactly the
same grammatical thing as starting a sentence with "And" or "Or."
Starting a sentence with "And" often seems to me like a dispensable
rhetorical flourish, whereas I often find starting a sentence with
"But" to be almost necessary (given the undesirability in many
cases of using "[comma] but" instead, which might make the sentence
obese, or "However," which I tend to find pretentious and rhetorically
impotent at the beginning of a sentence).
It is "and" and "or" that are true-blue conjunctions. "But" and the
other FANBOYS* are individuated in weird ways. It's amusing, for
instance, that we can say "and yet" and "and so" but not *"and for"
or *"and but."
Huh?
And for my next trick ....
And but for those pesky kids, I would have gotten away with it!
Jerry Friedman
2018-10-07 03:09:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ken Blake
On Sun, 30 Sep 2018 14:01:19 -0600, Jerry Friedman
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by Ken Blake
Post by b***@aol.com
However, that doesn't invalidate the fact that "it's always improper to
begin a sentence with 'But'", as you initially undertook to demonstrate.
It just reveals an open secret, i.e. that even famous authors (knowingly)
take liberties with grammar, and is ultimately boiled down to the age-old
debate of prescriptive vs descriptive.
I must be in the minority, but I don't have any problem with beginning
a sentence with "but."
...
I think you're in the large majority.
If you mean of English speakers, I'm sure you're right. I meant of
posters in AUE.
As far as I can tell, only bebercito objected to starting a sentence
with "but".
--
Jerry Friedman
Jack
2018-09-27 22:13:52 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 03:45:16 -0700 (PDT), Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
I guess you are answering the 'origin' question, without giving the
myth credence.
--
John
g***@gmail.com
2018-09-27 22:54:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Duncanson [BrE]
On Thu, 27 Sep 2018 03:45:16 -0700 (PDT), Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by Madrigal Gurneyhalt
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's a conjunction. Conjunctions conjoin. A conjunction at the start
of a sentence doesn't conjoin. There you go. All the logic needed to
construct the 'rule'. Somebody considered an authority publishes
this argument. It goes into school books. Everybody is taught it is
correct. Bob's your mother's brother.
I guess you are answering the 'origin' question, without giving the
myth credence.
--
John
You're probably right, John. She did, after all, put 'rule' in
single quotes. In case anyone is wondering why I am so keen on
disproving something that is obviously wrong, it is on account
of an experience I had yesterday in a course I am required to
take as a Master's student in TESOL -- a pedagogical grammar class.

In this class, one of our assignments is to tutor an ESL student.
One of the students in my class is a girl from Vietnam, who is
not a native speaker of English. The ESL student she is tutoring
for the assignment has a teacher who circles "but" as incorrect
whenever the student begins a sentence with "but."

My Vietnamese classmate took it for granted that it was incorrect
to do this and asked how she should approach the topic of teaching
conjunctions. Various classmates gave suggestions. Then I raised my
hand and explained that I viewed it as a teacher's mistake, asserting
that there was nothing whatsoever wrong with sentence-initial "but."

This proved to be controversial. My professor, who may not be a
grammarian but is nevertheless the HEAD of the TESOL department at
my university -- his voice carrying perhaps the most weight when it
comes to the decision of whether to award a Master's degree -- said,
essentially, that it was a matter of register.

I then said that I would begin a sentence with "But" even if I were
writing the Queen of England, provided it was a good way to begin the
sentence -- the point being that sentence-initial "but" can't simply
be ruled out in advance as less than formal. So I am taking a stand on
this. Last night I e-mailed everyone in my class, including the professor,
the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, arguably the
most famous formally written paragraph in United States history.

Incidentally, the one book I have been unable to find sentence-initial
"but" in is the APA manual. This is quite frustrating to me. They don't
say anything overtly about it, but if it happens that sentence-initial
"but" doesn't occur even once in the entire style manual, that could be
seen as indirect evidence that the powers that be in the APA are deluded
by this myth. While flipping through, I did see a sentence-initial "Yet."

It is to APA format that all students in my program are expected to
conform. Perhaps, then, it is no wonder that my professor thinks it is
wrong to use sentence-initial "but" in the most formal varieties of
writing. He told us one day that he hates to write, even though he has
to do so constantly. One of the main classes he teaches is Research
Methods and Design. What I need are examples from TESOL journals!
Janet
2018-09-27 12:01:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
Glaswegians cannae be wrang, but.

Janet.
b***@aol.com
2018-09-27 13:30:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder.
Probably with the notion of parts of speech - which is not a myth though
it originated with ancient Greek.
Post by g***@gmail.com
And who exactly buys into it?
Those aware of the above.
Post by g***@gmail.com
Thank you. Cheers.
David Kleinecke
2018-09-27 17:41:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder.
Probably with the notion of parts of speech - which is not a myth though
it originated with ancient Greek.
Post by g***@gmail.com
And who exactly buys into it?
Those aware of the above.
Too wrong-headed to deserve rebuttal.

Hence I am not posting this.
b***@aol.com
2018-09-27 19:04:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder.
Probably with the notion of parts of speech - which is not a myth though
it originated with ancient Greek.
Post by g***@gmail.com
And who exactly buys into it?
Those aware of the above.
Too wrong-headed to deserve rebuttal.
Hence I am not posting this.
Nice preterition, but your reply comes as no surprise since you yourself
misuse "Hence" for "Therefore".
Horace LaBadie
2018-09-27 19:41:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by David Kleinecke
Post by b***@aol.com
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder.
Probably with the notion of parts of speech - which is not a myth though
it originated with ancient Greek.
Post by g***@gmail.com
And who exactly buys into it?
Those aware of the above.
Too wrong-headed to deserve rebuttal.
Hence I am not posting this.
Nice preterition, but your reply comes as no surprise since you yourself
misuse "Hence" for "Therefore".
No, he used hence to show that he was not posting it for the reason
stated, it was too wrong-headed. That is the primary meaning in modern
English.
Bill Day
2018-09-28 14:20:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Greetings,
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
Thank you. Cheers.
From this site,
http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/coordinatingconjunction.htm

an opinion:
"Some teachers warn that beginning a sentence with a coordinating
conjunction is wrong. Teachers will typically tell you this because
they are trying to help you avoid writing fragments. Other times
teachers give this advice because their preference is that a sentence
not begin with a coordinating conjunction.

What you should remember is that you break no grammar rule if you
begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. Because you might be
breaking your instructors' rules, however, you should ask what their
preferences are.

If you decide to begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction,
keep these three things in mind:

Be sure that a main clause follows the coordinating conjunction.
Do not use a coordinating conjunction to begin every sentence. Use
this option only when it makes the flow of your ideas more effective.
Do not use a comma after the coordinating conjunction. Coordinating
conjunctions are not transitional expressions like for example or
first of all. You will rarely use punctuation after them."
--
remove nonsense for reply
RHDraney
2018-09-28 16:06:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
I have begun sentences occasionally with "But" all my life
and have never once been "corrected" for doing so. Nor have
I ever, to my knowledge, seen a restriction against its use
at the beginning of a sentence in formal writing in any
grammar book -- or at least in any grammar book that I respect.
Note that there is no such prohibition on a sentence such as:

"But for his strict fealty to a single textbook of boilerplate
grammar, he might have been a fluent speaker of perfect English."
Post by g***@gmail.com
I have, however (or, equivalently, "But I have") seen it
discouraged at an ESL grammar site (not the one I moderate),
and today I heard a British professor say that it was not
formal. And yet I find a sentence beginning with "But" in the
second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence and an
entire paragraph beginning with "But" in the Gettysburg Address.
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's that old "you can't start a sentence with a conjunction, else what
would that word be conjoining" rule, innit?...and if it's okay to
continue a previous sentence with a conjunction, what then of all the
songs whose entire lyric begins with "and"?:

"And I Say To Myself" - David Bowie
"Aubrey" - Bread
"Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" - ZZ Top
"Castles In The Air" - Don McLean
"Hold Your Head Up" - Argent
"Into The Groove" - Madonna
"Jerusalem" - traditional
"Little Green Apples" - Roger Miller
"Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters" - Elton John
"Mrs Robinson" - Simon & Garfunkel
"My Love" - Paul McCartney & Wings
"My Way" - Frank Sinatra
"Once In A Lifetime" - Talking Heads
"Open Your Heart" - The Human League
"Puppy Love" - Paul Anka
"Signs" - Five Man Electrical Band
"Tell Her No" - The Zombies
"Walk Away Renee" - The Left Banke
"What Is And What Should Never Be" - Led Zeppelin

(I wanted to make sure I had ample instances of American, British, and
Canadian violations of the rule)....r
Jerry Friedman
2018-09-28 18:55:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by RHDraney
Post by g***@gmail.com
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
...
Post by RHDraney
Post by g***@gmail.com
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's that old "you can't start a sentence with a conjunction, else what
would that word be conjoining" rule, innit?...and if it's okay to
continue a previous sentence with a conjunction, what then of all the
Those are okay too. Not that I necessarily like all the ones I've
heard.
Post by RHDraney
"And I Say To Myself" - David Bowie
"Aubrey" - Bread
"Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" - ZZ Top
"Castles In The Air" - Don McLean
"Hold Your Head Up" - Argent
"Into The Groove" - Madonna
"Jerusalem" - traditional
That is, William Blake and Hubert Parry.
Post by RHDraney
"Little Green Apples" - Roger Miller
"Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters" - Elton John
"Morgen!" - John Henry Mackay and Richard Strauss (or Max Reger, but
I've only heard the Strauss version). If you want to get technical,
it begins with "und".
Post by RHDraney
"Mrs Robinson" - Simon & Garfunkel
...

The King James translators started lots of sentences with "And",
but they did observe the rule enough to change a Hebrew "and" to
"Now" in Joshua 1:1.
--
Jerry Friedman
g***@gmail.com
2018-09-29 05:50:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by RHDraney
Post by g***@gmail.com
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
...
Post by RHDraney
Post by g***@gmail.com
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's that old "you can't start a sentence with a conjunction, else what
would that word be conjoining" rule, innit?...and if it's okay to
continue a previous sentence with a conjunction, what then of all the
Those are okay too. Not that I necessarily like all the ones I've
heard.
Post by RHDraney
"And I Say To Myself" - David Bowie
"Aubrey" - Bread
"Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" - ZZ Top
"Castles In The Air" - Don McLean
"Hold Your Head Up" - Argent
"Into The Groove" - Madonna
"Jerusalem" - traditional
That is, William Blake and Hubert Parry.
"Jerusalem" is awesome. I don't know how many times I had
seen "Chariots of Fire" before realizing that it is in that
hymn that the phrase "chariot(s) of fire" ("Bring me my chariot
of fire") is used. If you don't already know the hymn, it
is very difficult to hear!


Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by RHDraney
"Little Green Apples" - Roger Miller
"Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters" - Elton John
"Morgen!" - John Henry Mackay and Richard Strauss (or Max Reger, but
I've only heard the Strauss version). If you want to get technical,
it begins with "und".
Post by RHDraney
"Mrs Robinson" - Simon & Garfunkel
...
The King James translators started lots of sentences with "And",
but they did observe the rule enough to change a Hebrew "and" to
"Now" in Joshua 1:1.
--
Jerry Friedman
Jerry, I know you follow Language Log more than I do. I wonder if
you might be aware of any attempt on Pullum's or Mark Liberman's
part to debunk this notion about beginning sentences with "but."
That would make a lovely addition to my arsenal. :)
Jerry Friedman
2018-09-30 14:15:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by RHDraney
Post by g***@gmail.com
To clarify my title, my question is how anyone could think
it's wrong to begin a sentence with "But" when it would
sound natural to do so. Obviously we can't just begin any
sentence with "But." The notion that I mean to attack is
that it is always improper to do so in formal writing.
...
Post by RHDraney
Post by g***@gmail.com
How did this myth start? I wonder. And who exactly buys into it?
It's that old "you can't start a sentence with a conjunction, else what
would that word be conjoining" rule, innit?...and if it's okay to
continue a previous sentence with a conjunction, what then of all the
Those are okay too. Not that I necessarily like all the ones I've
heard.
Post by RHDraney
"And I Say To Myself" - David Bowie
"Aubrey" - Bread
"Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" - ZZ Top
"Castles In The Air" - Don McLean
"Hold Your Head Up" - Argent
"Into The Groove" - Madonna
"Jerusalem" - traditional
That is, William Blake and Hubert Parry.
"Jerusalem" is awesome. I don't know how many times I had
seen "Chariots of Fire" before realizing that it is in that
hymn that the phrase "chariot(s) of fire" ("Bring me my chariot
of fire") is used. If you don't already know the hymn, it
is very difficult to hear!
http://youtu.be/3vxlX5wyEQs
...

A boys' choir isn't the optimum choice for that best of all Anglican
hymns, IMO.

(Yes, there are Anglican hymns I haven't heard. Lots.)
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
The King James translators started lots of sentences with "And",
but they did observe the rule enough to change a Hebrew "and" to
"Now" in Joshua 1:1.
--
Jerry Friedman
Jerry, I know you follow Language Log more than I do. I wonder if
you might be aware of any attempt on Pullum's or Mark Liberman's
part to debunk this notion about beginning sentences with "but."
That would make a lovely addition to my arsenal. :)
There are such attempts, and their term for it is "sentence-initial
conjunction". You could start with

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1876

though a search might turn up something more recent. You'll have to use
a Web-search engine, since the search facility at Language Log doesn't
find anything.

Cross-thread alert: There was some discussion of when computer programs
are called programs or apps or other possibilities. I don't remember a
mention of "engine", though the engine is properly only the main part of
a "search engine" or "chess engine".
--
Jerry Friedman
Peter T. Daniels
2018-09-30 15:52:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by Jerry Friedman
Post by RHDraney
"Jerusalem" - traditional
That is, William Blake and Hubert Parry.
"Jerusalem" is awesome. I don't know how many times I had
seen "Chariots of Fire" before realizing that it is in that
hymn that the phrase "chariot(s) of fire" ("Bring me my chariot
of fire") is used. If you don't already know the hymn, it
is very difficult to hear!
http://youtu.be/3vxlX5wyEQs
...
A boys' choir isn't the optimum choice for that best of all Anglican
hymns, IMO.
How about boomed out by the Last Night of the Proms audience in the
Royal Albert Hall?
Post by Jerry Friedman
(Yes, there are Anglican hymns I haven't heard. Lots.)
Somehow we never sang that one at morning chapel services at St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's.

We did lots of Vaughan Williams, though, and the usual Communion setting
was the one by the Canadian composer Healey Willan n the *Hymnal 1940*.
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