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Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at
Fri Jan 23 14:57:35 EST 2004

On Friday, January 23, 2004, at 07:48  AM, minnow at wrote:

> "Perhaps to remind her that he had just rescued her from the lake, but
> Hermione pushed the beetle away impatiently and said, 'You're well  
> outside
> the time-limit, though, Harry ... Did it take you ages to find us?'"
> which is definitely not a good sentence.
> If we put the semicolon or full stop in the other position (accepting  
> that
> a sentence starting "But' is an abomination and a sin against the Holy
> Ghost, or whatever else, but ignoring that just for once...)

But according to Amis ("The King's English"):

"And the idea that 'and' must not begin a sentence, or even a  
paragraph, is an empty superstition. The same goes for 'but.' Indeed  
either word can give unimprovably early warning of the sort of thing  
that is to follow."

And Garner ("A Dictionary of Modern American Usage"):

"It is a gross canard that beginning a sentence with 'but' is  
stylistically slipshod. In fact, doing so is highly desirable in any  
number of contexts, and many stylebooks that discuss the question quite  
correctly say that but is better than 'however' at the beginning of a  
sentence . . . "

(still desperately trying to find the passage that irritated him and  
started this whole discussion)

Fairy tales are not true--fairy tales are important, and they are not  
true, they are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons  
exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.
G.K. Chesterton

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at
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