+0
Textbooks say beginning a sentence with a coordinating conjunction can lead to a sentence fragment and such a sentence is quite informal.

Is it really so? Is it allowed only for an informal sentence?

For example, when combining:

(a) We begin to speak when we are about one year old.

with

(b) When we become four or five years old, we become able to express ourselves somehow.

I personally think

'We begin to speak when we are about one year old. And when we become four or five years old, we
become able to express ourselves somehow.'

is quite acceptable even for formal writing, such as an academic paper on psychology.

Am I wrong?
Comments  
Still not considered good writing style, Taka, though you will find it in use a lot.
Mister MicawberStill not considered good writing style, Taka, though you will find it in use a lot.

I know ideally it should be avoided. However, let's say you have sentence-A and sentence-B and both are VERY long. When combininig them with 'and', would you go like:

[----------------------------------------------------(sentence-A)---------------------------------------------------------------] ,and[-------------------------------------------------------------(sentence-B)------------------------------------------------------]

?

I think it would be very lenghty...
Try out our live chat room.
Hi Taka,

I would first ask myself why 'and' is necessary in such a situation. Often, it isn't, or another word can be used instead.

Another concern is that starting a sentence with 'and' can make it hard for the reader to discern what the 'and' relates to. eg Sentence A. Sentence B. Sentence C, starting with 'and'. Does the scope of the 'and' go back only to B, or to both A + B, or even just to A? This can lead to sloppy writing.

Best wishes, Clive
Well, if you wish to write an academic paper on psychology, you would be expected to exhibit a scholarly style – MLA style, for example. In this case, the sentences which begin with AND would undoubtedly mar your style. Besides, there will be many objections to your style of writing.

So why not follow tradition and lay aside personal preferences, at least when it comes to academic research?
Much depends on who you choose as your stylistic models for formal writing. Opening a volume of T.S. Eliot's essays at random, for instance, I find:


"And although Bramhall is not an easy writer, his phrases are lucid and direct and occasionally have real beauty and rhythm."
And in Matthew Arnold's essays, again at random:


"And the acquaintance of a man like Marcus Aurelius is such an imperishable benefit, that one can never lose a peculiar sense of obligation towards the man who confers it."
In these examples, I would take "And" to mean "Moreover": it turns the rhetoric up a notch or two. But it is possible to overdo it: a choppy succession of very short "And" sentences can have a faintly 6th-form, would-be-Hemingwayesque effect.

"But" is much more common, in academic writers: I doubt whether there's a significant English writer who hasn't begun a sentence with "But".

MrP
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
One further point that MrP's post reminds me of: creative writers of the eminence of Eliot and Arnold-- not to mention Joyce, who is permitted to do anything with the language!-- are treading in places where ESLs and undergrads should fear to go.

I am speaking of teaching English composition, and it is better for students-- and most people who are attempting to put decent English down on paper-- to avoid as a matter of policy beginning with a coordinating conjunction, only because the result is too often ugly or unfortunate.