Saturday, April 29, 2006


The Triangle Grammar Guide has a fine post on the FANBOYS, the coordinating conjunctions For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. This blog is written by Pam Nelson, an experienced journalist for the The NewsObserver of Raleigh, North Carolina. As is clear from the title, she writes about grammar.

A few points that she makes are:
"The words can connect words, phrases or clauses. They are called coordinating conjunctions because they join equal things."

"Newspaper style varies from academic style on commas and items in a series. In newspapers, we drop the comma just before the coordinating conjunction:

Stir in sugar, oil, beaten eggs and vanilla."
"You have probably heard that you should not begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. Piffle! You shouldn't begin every sentence with a conjunction, but you can use the conjunctions sometimes. But don't put a comma after the conjunction."

I found a few things interesting in her discussion of the FANBOYS. I liked that she pointed out how journalistic style is different from academic style. Second, she points out that we can use a coordinating conjunction at the beginning of a sentence. There is no rule that a sentence cannot begin with a coordinating conjunction, but there are some teacher rules that forbid the use of coordinating conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence. Finally, remember the final sentence I quote above:"But don't put a comma after the conjunction."

By the way, for those who do not know, according to Merriam Webster's on line, piffle means "trivial nonsense".