Is it Okay to Split an Infinitive? Can I start a sentence with "And"?

Is it Okay to Split an Infinitive? Can I start a sentence with "And"?The following is some basic writing help that answers your questions about when it’s okay to split an infinitive, whether to start sentences with “And” or “But,” and whether it’s okay to use a singular “they.”

Here are the grammar rules and non-rules that tend to be confusing to many writers (and readers):

Is it okay to split an infinitive?

Yes, it’s okay to occasionally split an infinitive! But if you can be graceful, it’s better not to split it.

“It’s okay to split an infinitive occasionally” would pose a lower risk of annoying your readers than the first sentence above, which, as you may have noticed, contains a split infinitive.

Can I start a sentence with “And” or “But”?

Yes, it’s okay to start sentences with “And” or “But.” But don’t overdo it.

Is it okay to use “they” as a pronoun for one person?

I used to be adamant that “they” is not an appropriate reference to a single person! But even I sometimes use it now and allow my clients to use it too. While there are often workarounds for using the singular “they,” they are often awkward. There’s a

Can I use “this” without a reference?

This is not recommended. The question always to ask yourself (or – see #1 – to always ask yourself) is, “This WHAT?” and tell us what the WHAT is.

Rather than say “This is not recommended,” try “This construction is not recommended.” Otherwise your readers will not know what “this” refers to.

Shall I go into whether it’s okay to end a sentence with a preposition? Let’s save that one for another day.

If you run into any other grammar questions that have you stumped, feel free to ask The Essay Expert. You can also sign up for my Grammar & Writing Tips List for tips on how to communicate with grammatical correctness.

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