This seems to be argued back and forth by my Writing and Reading teachers. Here is the problem. For example I write this sentence:

And I went to bed to get some sleep.

Just a simple sentence with the conjunction And at the beginning. My teachers disagree whether this is correct or not. So is it correct to start a sentence with a coordinate conjunction?

This is not a duplicate because my question is about all the FANBOYS, not just the conjunction "and".

  • 1
    Yes, it's correct. Related. Mar 25, 2015 at 22:13
  • Where did that come from?! Mar 25, 2015 at 22:13
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    The past, young padawan. That question came from the past. Mar 25, 2015 at 22:16
  • But of course it is! And quotes by great authors will support your position in class. Mar 25, 2015 at 22:24
  • 1
    Yes this a dupicate. And your whole FANBOYS thing is a myth, too.
    – tchrist
    Mar 25, 2015 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


Yes: in fiction.

No: in formal/academic papers, or in many non-fiction books.

Thomas Pynchon is one of the greatest American novelists and a great stylist. You'll find in his work:

"Bigger, not softer, ése. And speaking of lunch, how about tomorrow at Vineland Lanes?"

Zoyd had played a few mob weddings in his career, nothing the kid couldn't handle, and besides the eats would more than make up for any awkward episodes, so it wasn't as if he were running a mean trick on his daughter's boyfriend, whom he was still not 100 percent crazy about, or anything like that. And as a problem to be addressed, Isaiah was more like a vacation from deeper difficulties, chief among which, all of a sudden, was the recrudescence of Hector Zuñiga in Zoyd's life, a topic, as he lit a joint and settled in front of the soundless Tube, that his thoughts unavoidably found their way back to.

Vineland, by Thomas Pynchon

Also, see:

A Grammar Book for You and I-- Oops, Me!: All the Grammar ... C. Edward Good - 2002 When you exercise your new writing muscles and use conjunctions to start sentences, make certain you do not put a comma immediately after the conjunction.

the section that starts with

Never Start a Sequence with a Conjunction Poppycock, on p. 157

which includes comments from the great stylists of the past, such as Fowler and Follett.

The most exhaustive essay on the matter that I know is:

Garner on Language and Writing: Selected Essays and Speeches of Bryan A. Garner By Bryan A. Garner. See: On Conjunctions as Sequence Starters at p. 63

Garner being the preeminent style expert of our time, IMO.

I'd strongly suggest to at least peruse it.

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    I do not agree that the practice of beginning sentences with And is unsuitable for formal academic writing. Just for instance, classicists tend to be some of the greatest sticklers for correctness in English, and yet I find the redoubtable Paul Shorey, of the University of Chicago, beginning 10 sentences thus in the 16 pages of his 1909 article “Φύσις, Μελέτη, Ἐπιστήμη” (Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association [TAPA] 40:185–201). I myself have begun many a sentence thus in scholarly publications and never had an editor question it. Mar 26, 2015 at 14:16
  • @Brian Donovan. My experience is this varies with the editorial board, thus I'd strongly recommend that any author should get acquainted with the rules of the respective ''house.'' Anyway, I've added at the end of my answer a link to an essay by Bryan Garner on the matter, which provides a plethora of examples. Mar 26, 2015 at 14:41

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