Starting sentence with But

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Grammerly doesn't like starting a sentence with a but. This is one of my college essays. Should it be reworded?

I never watched Sports Center growing up, just a steady dose of History and Discovery Channel. But what I, at the time, interpreted as useless and boring, ended up being one of my greatest strengths as a person.

asked Dec 31 '11 at 13:18 Lynn Cohen New member

1 answer


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The word but is a conjunction.  That means that it joins two parts of a sentence.  Instead, you are attempting to start a sentence with it, which is why Grammarly has pointed it out.  Informally, people do this all the time.  For a college essay, stick with the rules of grammar. 

 

I really wanted to start that last sentence with, "But for a college essay..." because I think informally.  If you feel the urge to start a sentence with a conjunction (and, but, or) ask yourself if the word is actually necessary for that second sentence to make sense, or consider whether it should all be one sentence.  By breaking into a new sentence, the conjuction you feel the urge to use should be implied by the context. 

 

I have another problem with your second sentence, though.  This wording means that one of your greatest strenghts is watching Sports Center.  In other words, you are really good at watching that show.  I suspect that's not really what you meant.

link edited Dec 31 '11 at 14:38 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thanks, I took out the But based on your suggestions. The second sentence I left though, as I found it difficult to change the wording. I am hoping that it is implied that the History and Discovery were the subject. Here is the whole paragraph. When I was younger, I often wondered why my dad never coached any of my baseball teams or helped out like some of the other fathers. Instead, our bonding occurred on different terms. Rather than take me to ball games, my dad took me to museums. I never watched Sports Center growing up, just a steady dose of History Channel and Discovery Channel. What I, at the time, interpreted as useless and boring, ended up being one of my greatest strengths as a person. I have never lost touch with that. My dad’s appetite for intellectual stimulation could not help but rub off on me. To this day, I know more random history and geography facts than anyone I know, and I am much more proud of that than any recognition I have ever gotten from sports. Lynn CohenDec 31 '11 at 19:17

It does make more sense in context. I'd still change the word "being" to something like "developing." Patty TDec 31 '11 at 19:34

great suggestion - thanks! Lynn CohenDec 31 '11 at 20:27

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