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Sentence beginnings and endings

by on
in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

What’s the rule on these four sentence-starting and -stopping strategies?

1. Starting a sentence with “and” or “but”: It’s perfectly OK, though be aware that it sets a less formal tone.

If formality is the goal, reword.

Example: “And we still hope to see you on the 14th” might become “Furthermore, we still hope to see you on the 14th.”

2. Launching a sentence with “There is” or “There are”: At times, “there is” or “there are” can be a fine way to start a sentence. Generally, though, a writer can reword the start and cut to the chase. Most likely, you don’t need “there.”

Example: There is a leak in the ceiling in our office that needs to be repaired vs. The leak in the ceiling in our office needs to be repaired.

3. Ending a sentence with a preposition: Though many be­­lieve otherwise, putting a preposition at the end of a sentence is acceptable. Putting it at the end often sounds more natural.

Example: “Where did you come from?” vs. “From where did you come?”

4. Starting a sentence with “how­­ever” is acceptable, as long as you put a comma after “however” if it means “nevertheless.” If you use “however” at the beginning of a sentence and don’t insert a comma, “however” means “in whatever manner” or “to whatever extent.”

Example: However carefully they paraded down the street vs. How­­ever, it’s vital to re­­mem­­ber to call home before leaving work.

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