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October 27, 2008


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Please give me your thoughts on my following assertion.

The purpose of a conjunction is to connect two clauses into a seamless concept. A writer would not fragment a single idea into two sentences. If a sentence starts with a conjunction, one of two things is occurring; the writer is fragmenting a single idea, or he/she is including an unnecessary word (the conjunction).

For example, your sentences "The ghosts were gone." and "But, as we all agreed, the place was still spooky." make up the single idea that even though the ghosts were gone, you were still scared. Separately, the sentences express two unrelated ideas: the ghosts are gone; the place continues to be spooky. Additionally, in that two sentences express two separate ideas, the word "but" there is an incorrect, superfluous addition. To express the single idea correctly, the sentences must be combined with a comma. Excluding the comma is an error of separating clauses that depend on each other.

As an alternative example, your sentences "There are several pumpkins left." and "But when the last one is gone, we will close the fruit stand for the year." are two separate ideas and do not depend on one another. Therefore, the conjunction "but" is an incorrect and superfluous addition. The first sentence relates to a quantity of pumpkins while the second relates to the stand's status. The fact that the stand closes once the pumpkins are gone does not challenge that the stand is currently open. If the first sentences related to the same topic as the second, the conjunction would be necessary, but as stated before, single ideas should be expressed in single sentences. For example, the following sentence is a correct expression of the stand's tentative status; "The stand is open now, but when the last pumpkin is gone, we will close it for the year."

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