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Is it correct to use with at the beginning of a sentence?

Here's an example sentence:

With the development of the economy, living standards improved.

To my eyes this looks unnatural; I would rewrite it thus:

Living standards have improved as a result of economic development.

I think it sounds better because, as I understand it, in English it is more natural to put the result at the beginning of the sentence, and then the contributing factors or background information after that. But I am not 100% sure.

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    Just as an aside, there are no rules saying "You can't start an English sentence with insert word". None at all. Languages don't work that way, and certainly English doesn't. Language is not just a big bag of words. May 8, 2013 at 17:06
  • Original sentence - with no corn to sell this year, how will we earn a living? Modified sentence - due to no corn to sell this year, how will we earn a living? Modified sentence because of no corn to sell this year, how will we earn a living? are they all same?
    – Pankaj
    Oct 28, 2022 at 21:00

1 Answer 1

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There's nothing grammatically wrong with that construction. In fact it's quite common. It's an example of a dependent clause. You can use any subordinating conjunctions in this way.

However, I will agree that it sounds a bit odd for other reasons. The development of the economy speaks of the development almost as if it was a single event. Personally, I'd write it like this:

With the developing economy, living standards improved.

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    Yes - the grammar's fine either way, but I prefer 'as a result of economic development' to 'with the development of the economy' on semantic grounds. May 8, 2013 at 7:55
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    Could you elaborate?
    – user43898
    May 9, 2013 at 13:25
  • Original sentence - with no corn to sell this year, how will we earn a living? Modified sentence - due to no corn to sell this year, how will we earn a living? Modified sentence because of no corn to sell this year, how will we earn a living? are they all same?
    – Pankaj
    Oct 28, 2022 at 21:01
  • @Pankaj Late response, I know, but the original sentence definitely sounds more natural to me. "due to", and "because of" are somewhat formal constructions, but the following clause, "how will we earn a living?" is more informal. So the mix of the two tones comes across as quite awkward. I'd recommend considering what overall tone you're trying to convey and trying to be consistent throughout.
    – p.s.w.g
    Dec 21, 2022 at 19:27

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