Who Ya Gonna Call? Myth Busters!

AuthorC. Edward Good
Published in Landslide® magazine, Volume 13, Number 3, a publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law (ABA-IPL), ©2020 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.
This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
January/February 2021 n LANDSLIDE 47
Who Ya
Gonna Call?
Myth Busters!
By C. Edward Good
Image: GettyImages
John hit the ball, and he ran to rst base.
Here are the seven coordinating conjunctions.
The acronym BOYFANS will help you remember them:
But, Or, Yet, For, And, Nor, So
According to the myth, you may not start a sentence with any
of these seven words.
Who started this myth? I think elementary school teachers
promulgated the rule. They kept hearing their six-year-olds say:
Daddy took me to the movies. And it was real fun. And we had
popcorn. And Daddy let me sit in his lap so I could see better.
To stop this locution, the teachers joined together and taught
all of us that you may not start a sentence with a conjunction.
But they robbed us of a terric writing technique.
We do not have to look far for the proper rule. Of course
any myths haunt legal writers by admonishing
them to do this or not to do that. A list of the top
four includes:
1. Never start sentences with a conjunction
2. Never split innitives
3. Never split multiword verbs
4. Never use contractions in formal writing
Myth 1: Never Start a Sentence with a Conjunction
In the English language, we have seven coordinating conjunc-
tions. These words join elements in grammatically parallel
series. They are also the only words in the English language
enabling you to join two independent clauses with a comma
(before the conjunction).
Thus, the word and joins elements in a series:
Our ag is red, white, and blue.
It also joins two independent clauses with a comma:

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