What Your English Teacher Got Wrong

Never Start a Sentence With “And”

Have you heard this? “Never start a sentence with and or but.”

Teachers harped on that! I remember most English teachers held this rule. “Never start a sentence with and.” Why?

After I grew up a little, I realized best-selling authors didn’t care about the advice of English teachers.

Two or three best sellers in, I learned best selling authors are playing a different game. They are not writing for the beauty of English. They are writing for their reader.

English Teachers Are Rarely Best Selling Authors

Robert Kiyosaki is the author of the #1 personal finance book ever.

He writes the story of his interaction with a highly educated journalist.

The journalist comes to him for advice. “How do you sell your book so well? What is your advice for me?”

He told her, “take a class about sales.” He advised her to learn to sell.

The journalist was insulted by this. English is a craft to her. It’s not something to be sold like a used car.

Robert Kiyosaki pointed to the “best-selling” part on his book. “It’s called best-selling not best-writing for a reason.”

This was mind blowing to me reading it the first time.

It does say “best-selling,” doesn’t it? It doesn’t say:

  • “best-writing”
  • “highest IQ required to read”
  • “college level readers only”

It’s called best-selling for a reason.

That’s because of priorities. A best selling author wants to suck readers in, change their lives, and change their thinking, in short, produce happy customers.

It’s not so much for the art of it. It’s not about having fancy adjectives to bedazzle your nouns.

People read things for their own reasons. We read for what we’re looking to get out of it.

We want to feel understood. We want to be spoken to right where we are in our life.

Our emotions are important to us: what decisions we are making, what struggles and insecurities we have.

If a author can create a powerful emotional impact for us, they’ve won the game of writing.

It doesn’t matter how many sentences started with “and.”

And it doesn’t matter if its written at a 6th grade reading level.

Adjectives Do Not Necessarily Improve Writing

Adjectives are words that describe or modify a word. For example, “blue dress.” “Blue” is describing the dress so its a adjective.

Teachers used to make me think simple sentences were childish. I couldn’t figure out how to write short sentences.

Every noun needed good, juicy descriptive words.

Teachers encouraged adjectives. Students who used them got a gold star.

It didn’t take long after school for me to realize that wasn’t reality.

In reality, adjectives makes sentences convoluted and harder to read.

In the real world, you know what people do when something’s hard to read? They stop! They don’t give you a “A.” They move on and read somewhere easier. (Or they watch a video, but that’s a different article.)

You want to convey your idea clearly to your reader.

You don’t want to underestimate your reader. You don’t need to hand them every little detail. People can and will read between the lines.

In fact you want them to dream and imagine. That’ll work just as much in great writing as the writing itself.

You want to write little allusions. Add little references and ideas for your readers. Give them something bigger than what’s on the page.

Don’t Worry About Starting Sentences with “And” or “But”

Seriously. That’s is not what is important.

Maybe you have two sentences that are connected.

But you want the clarity of each to shine through. That’s ok!

When writing blogs or articles on the internet. I’ve heard advice to keep paragraphs below 2-3 sentences.

People don’t like reading blocks of text. It’s too much, too easy to get lost, and is it all really necessary in the first place?


Thank you sincerely for reading! My name is Evan River Welch. I’m a digital marketing learner with Simplilearn, a professional skills bootcamp provider.

If you agree, disagree, or are my past English teacher and need to make some corrections, feel welcome to write any comments that popped up for you. And do not hesitate to contact me!

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