I’ve often come across articles saying we should not start a sentence with a conjunction. However, many many times have I seen a sentence starting with ‘But’. Isn’t But a conjunction? Or is it an exception? I’m very confused about what actually is the rule here. Please explain.

  • Generally, you should not do it. There are exceptions where it might make a sentence sound better, but don't let the exceptions define the norm. Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:47
  • Yes, but not your first sentence.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


But of course you can! It's quite common. It's not a hard rule, it's just a recommendation found in some (not all!) style guides for formal and professional writing. In everyday language it's perfectly normal and acceptable to begin a sentence with a conjunction.

Another commonly cited "rule" is to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. This is also only a recommendation and nowadays almost always disregarded. This led to a famous quote, often wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill:

This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put!

  • 1
    Oh...Ok. Thanks for the insight. I’m a newbie so can’t upvote. But I’ll accept it for sure.
    – WhySee
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:22

In general, it sounds weird to begin a sentence with "but", except in the British idiom "but of course".

In cases where you would want to use "but" at the beginning of a sentence, "however" is usually a suitable replacement. For example, in your comment on TypeIA's answer, I would have said "I'm a newbie so I can't upvote. However, I'll accept it".

  • Oh. I get it now. So can I use ‘Yet’ as a replacement as well?
    – WhySee
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:26
  • "Yet" is kind of archaic and sounds odd in today's English. But I suppose it would work.
    – Ertai87
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 18:38
  • 1
    What about Nevertheless and nonetheless? I suppose those two are appropriate too?
    – user516076
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 23:57
  • Nevertheless and nonetheless are fine, although they're quite formal. In less formal writing/speech, "But" is probably better. Or you can use an adverb like "Still" or a phrase like "Even so".
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 18 at 12:39

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