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Can one use "Yet" at the beginning of a sentence as follows?

Yet, he came late.

Is this grammatical?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

That should be like this, without a comma:

  • Yet he came late.

With random selections from Wolfe, Martin, and Tolkien, we have these examples:

  • Yet who could have said what it meant?
  • Yet how strange that Gunnie should sail the empty seas of time to become Burgundofara again.
  • Yet the Lord of Gondor is not to be made the tool of other men’s purposes, however worthy.
  • Yet, Master Peregrin, to be only a man of arms of the Guard of the Tower of Gondor is held worthy in the City, and such men have honour in the land.
  • Yet, maybe, he would not have done so, and the journey of Boromir was doomed.
  • Yet the slowness of my fall did nothing to allay the terror I felt in falling.
  • Yet there is a way.
  • Yet the anima will not be erased in you by that writing.
  • Yet, though before all was won the Battle of Five Armies was fought, and Thorin was slain, and many deeds of renown were done, the matter would scarcely have concerned later history, or earned more than a note in the long annals of the Third Age, but for an ‘accident’ by the way.
  • Yet I stood, as it were, at the bottom of a bowl.
  • Yet I will wed with the White Lady of Rohan, if it be her will.
  • Yet none were mine.
  • Yet you comfort me.
  • Yet it seems to me upon reflection to be not so strange after all.
  • Yet sometimes, particularly in the sleepy hours around noon, there was little to watch.
  • Yet, though you fight upon an alien field, the glory that you reap there shall be your own for ever.
  • Yet I also knew there was truth in it, that it was a proximity in time I felt.
  • Yet no attack came.
  • Yet leaving aside all these chance associations, the rain might be a blessing indeed.
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1  
It's worth adding that the yet introduces a contradiction from what has preceded it. "He left home early and travelled through the night. Yet he arrived late." Perhaps the question is actually asking about starting a sentence with a conjunction (which is perhaps questionable but probably stylistically justifiable). –  Andrew Leach Mar 11 '13 at 16:33

There are function words in English which have different meanings according to their position in a sentence. "yet" is a good example. I suppose that etymologically we have two words of the form yet, yet1 and yet2.

yet1 is used in a sentence (negative or question) as in

1 Mother asking her little son: Is your brother up yet or is he still in bed?

Son: He isn't up yet.

In 1 yet is an adverb refering to the present time. I associate it with German jetzt (now).

yet2 has a totally different meaning. It is a conjunction (or better a sentence introduction) introducing a sentence that expresses an idea contrary to the statement in the preceding sentence.

2 A waiter of a small Italian restaurant about his job:

The pay isn't good. Yet it is a job.

This yet2 has the meaning of "but", but the contrast is expressed in a stronger way. I associate this yet2 with German jedoch (however).

OALD has separate entries for yet1 and yet2. Astonishingly etymonline explains only yet1, yet2 isn't mentioned.

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