Go Light on Heavy Connectors


Summer 2019 | Volume 103 Number 2 | Download PDF Version of Article

One of the easiest ways to significantly improve all forms of legal writing is to replace heavy logical connectors with lighter ones (or none at all, where appropriate). Unfortunately, the myth persists that it is grammatically incorrect to start a sentence with the coordinating conjunctions and, but, and so. It’s a notion that every reputable authority on writing scoffs at. If you believe it, you will surely weigh down your prose and slow down your reader. So (not accordingly) here’s a handy short list. The ones on the left are not off limits, of course. But (not however) prefer the ones on the right; more often than not, they should work to provide a brisk transition. Judge for yourself in the before-and-after example.

About Joseph Kimble

Joseph Kimble is an emeritus professor at WMU–Cooley Law School. He is senior editor of The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, the editor of the Plain Language column in the Michigan Bar Journal, and the author of three books and many articles on legal writing (not to mention a children’s book). He served as drafting consultant on the projects to restyle the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence. Follow him on Twitter @ProfJoeKimble.