They often say that you learn most of what you need to know at a very early age. Successful people are very small when they learn to share their toys, play fair, clean up their own messes, flush the toilet, and say they’re sorry.

But one thing that teachers often tell us very early in life is just plain wrong. Children are sometimes told never to start sentences with “and” or “but.” The truth is that it’s perfectly fine to do so, and it can often be quite effective in your writing. It’s a pretty good idea, with any turn of phrase or sentence structure, to ask yourself why you’re doing it that way.

That’s the whole story. And I am sticking to it.

Click here for an interesting discussion of this grammatical superstition. This site, an Oxford University Press blog, also discusses other grammar myths and aspects of language usage.