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Posted on October 11, 2011

And is a conjunction, the simplest of its kind. You will know that its job is to join together nouns or verbs, or phrases or sentences. When joining sentences is to improve flow and that all-important rhythm . Thus,’kicked the ball’ and ‘He then ran after it’ are 2 perfectly grammatical sentences, but they come at the reader like bullets. However, ‘John kicked the ball and then ran after it’ sounds a little more sophisticated, a little less as if it’s been written by a six-year old.

There are numerous other conjunctions, of which more later. For now, three points about using the word, ‘and’.

1. You may have been told never to end a sentence with a conjunction. This is not always true, but in the case of ‘and’, it self-evidently is.

2. It is perfectly acceptable to start a sentence with ‘and’ (or, indeed, with many other conjunctional words), but do it only occasionally, preferably do it only at the start of a paragraph (or in speech) and do it as a rhetorical trick (by which I mean breaking the rules of grammar to make a point).

3. You may have been told never to use a word ‘and’ with a comma. This is generally true, but not always so. The sentence, ‘John kicked the ball and having done so ran after it’ reads better as, ‘John kicked the ball and, having done so, ran after it’.

This is a long post for a short word, but it’s the shortest words that are the most difficult to use.

Tags: 'And', conjunctions, joining words