Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Morton Freeman on light connectors

At a recent seminar, I suggested beginning sentences with light connectors (and, but, or, and others) to punch up the text, enhance readability, and move the reader along. But one senior lawyer said, "anyone who writes for me better not do it." Too bad.

By the way, it's not my idea, and it's not new. Morton Freeman, former author of the Grammatical Lawyer columns published in The Practical Lawyer magazine, said this in 1979:
Good writers sometimes use and or but or even or to begin a sentence. This placement of a conjunction shortens the pause occasioned by a preceding period, creates emphasis, and starts a summing up. It knits the thought that follows with the preceding sentence or, at times, indicates an afterthought. [It lets you] avoid cumbrous, formal connectives--moreover, nevertheless, nonetheless, furthermore, and however.

One more thing: A comma, unless otherwise called for, should not follow these conjunctions when they begin a sentence.
--Morton S. Freeman, Grammatical Lawyer 218 (ALI-ABA 1979).

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