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A Grammar Crisis

A friend pulled me into a marital dispute which is a precarious place to be and in ordinary circumstances I recommend avoiding this at all costs, but this dispute was a grammar one and so I had no choice. I had to weigh in.

The dispute was over whether or not it was kosher to begin a sentence with a preposition. To which the answer is obviously: no.

I stated my case with the confidence of a literature major and, for fun, because grammar debates are fun, I cracked open my dog-eared Strunk and White to find The Rule and demolish my friend’s husband’s argument once and for all.


I re-read that thing cover-to-cover and I skimmed the table of contents 20x, THERE WAS NO MENTION OF PREPOSITIONS BEING BANNED FROM STARTING A SENTENCE.

Distraught doesn’t even begin to cover what I was feeling. I interrupted my husband who was playing piano with our daughter to relay the drama. He endorsed the, “Of course you can start a sentence with a preposition” stance and that’s when I knew I needed backup.

I texted my fellow English majors who confirmed I was correct. Except! They also could not find the rule.

We Googled. And still. No rule to be found. But since you should not trust Google with medical opinions, it follows that you should not trust Google with grammar. And so I went to the bookstore, planted myself in the reference section, and began to read.


It is absolutely permissible to begin a sentence with And, But, Of, Although, Through, or any other preposition. Assuming it fits the context.

Now, please understand: I do this. I’ve been starting sentences with And and But and Of since the dawn of humanity. Only every time I’ve done it, I’ve done it with the understanding that I was breaking the rule.

That I was a grammar rebel, putting her middle finger up to convention, developing my own “style,” and paving the way for deeper and better conveyance of ideas!

But no.

I’m as basic as grammar Keren. The rules of my youth were a lie, built on a house of cards rooted in compliance and obedience. I accepted this (inaccurate) rule without question because that is what Mrs. Smith said to do. I never assumed I should ask her to cite her sources. Her job was to educate me! Why would I assume she did not do her due diligence!

I know not to split an infinitive and to never EVER use passive voice (unless for emphasis and on purpose). BUT NOW I MUST QUESTION EVERYTHING.

Except the Oxford comma and I swear on God’s Green Earth if you defend its omission I will unsubscribe you here myself. The only defensible argument for failing to use it is the following: I didn’t know. My teacher taught me wrong.

To which I say, same.

And thank goodness we contain brains with schemas that can be updated. So please update your schema as today we’ve all learned a valuable lesson.

And you can share it.

But only if you get the joke.

; )


PS: You might have heard the news…if you haven’t, I’ll spill the beans: This September is the very last time Akimbo will run The Copy Workshop.

It’s not drama, we’re just agreeing to see other people. We still love each other very much. Akimbo is doubling down on altMBA and is no longer going to run any other workshops.

Which means…

If you’ve been wanting to take The Copy Workshop as part of the esteemed Akimbo – literal inventor of cohort learning – you need to do it now because this is the last time you will be able to.

I don’t know when or if we’ll run it again. [heart break]


Come find out what people have been raving about.

Details here.