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I understand that in many contexts it is appropriate to begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction, and I am aware that variations of this question have been asked here many times. Mine, however, is specific to media writing style. Do any of the common U.S. media writing style authorities (AP Style, When Words Collide, etc.) have a stance on whether or not this is acceptable? I feel like it would be acceptable in a less formal story like an op-ed or a feature, but not in hard news.

I found a blog post that explains pretty well when you should substitute a conjunctive adverb, but I'm not sure whether writing for a newspaper (let's assume it's an established daily) falls under the umbrella of the "very formal contexts" the author mentions.

I know a lot of this comes down to the publication/editor, and I would ask my editor instead of coming here, but I'm just a copyeditor at a student paper and I don't really have anyone to ask.

  • There is no need to hinder good writers with pointless restrictions. I might be wrong, but I doubt you’ll find a guide that prohibits this practice outright. I’d also guess counterexamples abound in reputable newspapers. – J.R. Oct 19 '18 at 23:26
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The Associated Press (behind a paywall) has several blogs posts where this is addressed.

2011:

Is it acceptable to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as "but" or "and"?

It's acceptable, though shouldn't be overused.

2014:

What is the AP rule on starting a sentence with "And" or "But"?

There's no rule against starting a sentence with these conjunctions.

June 2015:

Beginning a sentence with a conjunction. Does AP have a rule against beginning a sentence with a conjunction such as "but," "and," "however," or "therefore?" Classic and rigid grammar books state that conjunctions should never start sentences. Many writers, however, have begun to do it regularly. What does AP say about it?

There's no AP Stylebook rule against starting a sentence with a conjunction. And it works well in some instances. But don't overuse it. Or readers will be annoyed.

November 2015:

Is it ok to begin a sentence with a conjunction? For example, "And that is why he chose to go the other way." Thank you.

Yes, I've answer this frequently. Beginning a sentence with "and" or another conjunction is acceptable. But this writing device shouldn't be overused to the point that it becomes annoying to readers.


Although it's not specific to US media, The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) also touches on this in 5.250:

and. Popular belief to the contrary, this conjunction usefully begins sentences, typically outperforming moreover, additionally, in addition, further, and furthermore. Yet it does not occur as a sentence-starter as often as but.

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