The sentence is supposed to be contradicting a previous situation explained thoroughly in the precedent paragraph. The contradiction is on the same subject (in the past/now). Can the sentence be something like "Whereas now ........."?

Would "Now ......" be enough?


4 Answers 4


There's a variety of myths about starting sentences with conjunctions. The best explanation I've heard from these myths is that they started with prohibitions from English teachers to stop pupils writing entire pieces where every sentence did so ("And then I went to the park. And then my friend came and we played together. And then we went home. And then I had my dinner.") that was taken to be an actual rule. It's not.

Would "Now ......" be enough?

Well, it might. Depending on the rest of the sentence, this might not only be acceptable, but also make for a stronger sentence - whereas can be a rather weak word sometimes. If the opposition of past and present is clear, then I would certainly consider starting just with Now.

Both would be correct though, so it's not a matter of the "right" choice, but of the strongest.

  • Well can I say "while" instead? + please check your email
    – reery
    Jan 22, 2013 at 12:00
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    You could start a sentence with "While now..." but without seeing the full piece, I think one of "Whereas now..." or "Now..." is likely to be better. Again, "Whereas now..." and "Now..." are both correct. See which of the two just feels stronger to you, and go with that. My email inbox has several hundred items that aren't filtered as priority due to being by people I already know. If you sent me something then it may take some time before I can respond.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 22, 2013 at 12:26

I'd like to direct you to the Wikipedia article on conjunctions:

Many students are taught that certain conjunctions (such as "and", "but", and "so") should not begin sentences, although authorities such as the Chicago Manual of Style state that this teaching has "no historical or grammatical foundation"

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    In some of my stories, the characters begin their speech with 'and' 'but' etc, my publisher crossed it out, but I wanted to keep it in sometimes because that was how the character spoke. Jan 28, 2013 at 3:34

Yes, you can start a sentence with whereas.

For example:

Whereas, Arbor Day was first observed in Nebraska with the plantation of more than a million trees, it is now observed throughout the nation and the world

Both following clauses as above must be in same voice. When I saw this sentence first time; I felt like it is a run on sentence, but whereas is a subordinating conjunction, which can be placed at the beginning and it still functions as a contrasting agent between following two independent clauses separated by commas.

While and whereas both can be used in this way. However, by contrast and on the other hand, must be used only to indicate contrast between two independent sentences separated by a full stop.

Few people believe that... . However, other argues that... .
Few people believe that... , whereas(while) other argues that...

refer the punctuation difference.

I have found this information through various online forums, and I am not a grammar guru.

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    This answer is very difficult to read. Please use quotes or italics to indicate when you're talking about words-as-words; otherwise it is quite hard to tell. Feb 8, 2014 at 11:36
  • I agree with Janus Bahs Jacquet, however, the user might be unaware how to format his answer. I'll try my hand, if he doesn't agree he can always roll back to the original version.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 8, 2014 at 13:52
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    One thing to note: when reversing the order of conjunction, there is no comma after whereas. For example: "Whereas Arbor Day was first observed in Nebraska with the plantation of more than a million trees, it is now observed throughout the nation and the world."
    – user87441
    Aug 6, 2014 at 19:07
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    You cannot treat "whereas" similar to "however". "However" is a conjunctive adverb and requires a comma after it when you use it to describe the rest of the sentence. The first example in quotes is grammatically wrong. If you begin a sentence with whereas then you must ensure that there is no comma after it. The comma comes when the dependent clause ends and the independent clause starts. Apr 26, 2020 at 4:39
  • Whereas, Arbor Day was first observed in Nebraska with the plantation of more than a million trees, it is now observed throughout the nation and the world Maybe a comma splice here. Nov 22, 2023 at 14:52

Whereas has two distinct uses. In legal contexts, it means 'in view or consideration of the fact that'. It has been so used to begin a sentence since at least the fifteenth century:

Where as þe seyd William Paston, by assignement and commaundement of þe seyd Duk of Norffolk..was þe styward of þe seyd Duc of Norffolk.

Its more common use is as a comparative or contrastive conjunction. What others have said about starting a sentence with conjunctions such as but and and is quite right. Doing so is a normal part of a writer’s repertoire, and there should really be no need to discuss it further. Whereas is a little different, because its meaning makes it an unlikely sentence opener. A sentence such as She went on to become an architect, whereas I did history would not normally be split in two to become She went on to become an architect. Whereas I did history. But if a writer thinks that will achieve an intended communicative purpose in a given context, then there is absolutely no reason not to do so.

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    Aren't you missing the times when one would start a sentence with whereas simply because they are reversing the order of the conjunction? eg. Whereas I did history, she went on to become an architect.
    – Jez
    Jan 22, 2013 at 13:43
  • @Jez. You still can. Jan 22, 2013 at 14:39
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    Yes but your answer doesn't mention this reason for starting a sentence with whereas.
    – Jez
    Jan 22, 2013 at 14:52
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    @Jez. I can't think of everything. Jan 22, 2013 at 14:54
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    Yeah but have you heard of editing a question? Bloody hell, it's like getting blood from a stone. :-)
    – Jez
    Jan 22, 2013 at 14:57

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