Is it okay to start a sentence with "Following"?

For example: "Following is an example of a carnivorous animal:"

Also, should I start the sentence from "The following" or simply "Following" works?

  • In your example, 'the' is required.
    – Void
    May 30 at 6:22
  • @Void Can you please elaborate, when to use 'The'? May 30 at 6:22
  • 2
    When it's used as a preposition and means coming after or as a result of, it doesn't require 'the'; however, when it's used as an adjective and means about to be mentioned (as in your example), it does require 'the'.
    – Void
    May 30 at 6:26
  • In the original example it's a verb functioning as predicator of the gerund-participial clause "following", functioning as subject of the sentence.
    – BillJ
    May 30 at 6:45
  • @Void Thanks for sharing a similar question. I could not find that question before. However, I am also asking when can we start a sentence with 'Following'. So, I think, I should not mark this question as a possible duplicate. May 30 at 10:29

You can start a sentence with the word "following", for example

Following this paragraph is a photograph of a carnivorous animal.

Your example probably works better with "the following", as in

The following is an example of a carnivorous animal.

which might be followed by a suitable photograph.

The first form can be taken as a re-ordering of

A photograph of a carnivorous animal follows (is following) this paragraph.

and you can use this form without mentioning the paragraph

A photograph of a carnivorous animal follows.

To use the sentence you have without "the" it needs to very clear what is being followed. For example in describing a parade a commentator might say

Here we see a herbivorous animal. Following is an example of a carnivorous animal.

though even here it would be clearer to say "Following it is ..".

  • Thanks, Peter. But I did not understand the last example. It is clear what is being followed since we said it is a "carnivorous animal". How adding the sentence: "Here we see a herbivorous animal" changes anything. What am I missing? May 30 at 10:33
  • It is a parade. The herbivore comes past and the commentator says the first sentence. When the next animal comes past (the carnivore) the commentator might say in full "Following the herbivorous animal is an example of a carnivorous animal", but this sentence could be shortened as in my answer.
    – Peter
    May 31 at 9:33

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