Can we start a sentence with 'of'. I have been working this poem and I am starting every sentence with of:

"Of rotten eggs and gap-toothed grin.

Of white lies and silly faces."

Is it grammatically correct?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Kristina Lopez, anongoodnurse, user140086, curiousdannii Feb 27 '16 at 5:15

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    "Of this topic, I have little to criticize." It does strike the ear as Yoda-speak. But since it is poetry, you can get away with subtle things like this. – cobaltduck Feb 26 '16 at 18:01
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a subjective request for writing advice. – FumbleFingers Feb 26 '16 at 18:29
  • @FumbleFingers And if the OP hadn't given a reason for the question, you'd have complained about not having enough context. This isn't a "subjective" request for advice on how to write poetry. It's a question about an introductory prepositional phrase. – deadrat Feb 26 '16 at 19:05
  • @deadrat: No it's not. It's a non-native speaker trying to write poetry in a language they're not familiar with, which I suggest is a mug's game. – FumbleFingers Feb 26 '16 at 19:06
  • @FumbleFingers "No it's not," he explained. The OP may or may not be a non-native speaker; the OP may or may not be the world's worst poetaster. But the one thing the OP is not is someone asking for advice on how to write poetry. The OP has a question about the acceptability of starting a sentence with of. The answer is one of yes, no, or maybe. Notice that "You're a mug" is not on that list. – deadrat Feb 26 '16 at 19:14

Of the grammatical errors you should worry about, starting a sentence with the word 'of' is not one. There are plenty of valid sentences like that, and the preceding sentence is an example. It's a simple reversal of the more normal sentence "Starting a sentence with the word 'of' is not one of the grammatical errors you should worry about." (To be clear, you shouldn't worry about it because it's not a grammatical error at all.)

I should point out that the lines you have written are not complete sentences, since they lack a verb. This only means that you need to repunctuate so that the sentence doesn't end at the end of the line, and the verb comes afterwards. For example (and with no pretensions of writing good poetry):

Of rotten eggs and gap-toothed grin,

of white lies and silly faces,

this poem tells.

It's also true that lots of poetry sacrifices grammar to other considerations, so it may not be worth worrying about at all.

  • Great. Another driveby downvoter, a curse upon this site. What's wrong with this answer? Is it wrong about initial of's. (Hint: no) Is it unclear? (See the first hint.) Do need evidence? (Hint: Go here -- books.google.com/… When you do this, you leave bad answers unimproved and give the impression that good answers are wrong. – deadrat Feb 26 '16 at 19:02
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    Cf. Ecclesiastes 12:12 (NRSV): "Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh." – Brian Donovan Feb 26 '16 at 19:06
  • @BrianDonovan Oh, nice! Divine, even. – deadrat Feb 26 '16 at 19:16
  • This isn't exactly an answer because "of" comes after a colon, but: The time has come, the Walrus said, To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- Of cabbages--and kings-- (Walrus and the Carpenter, Lewis Carroll) ( PS I cancelled out the DBDV) – ab2 Feb 27 '16 at 4:26

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