Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation => Topic started by: swifty on July 28, 2004, 06:44:45 PM

Title: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: swifty on July 28, 2004, 06:44:45 PM
I am old school, and was taught over and over, to absolutely NEVER start a sentence with AND or BUT.  What is the new generation being taught?  Other than don't listen to old school folks
 ;)
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: lexylit on July 28, 2004, 06:50:43 PM
i discourage it when i'm teaching, but it certainly isn't as hard-and-fast as it once was. Attorneys do it in court filings when they want to sound a little casual. It depends what tone you're going for, but i would say it's more a style issue (preference) and less a grammar one (right/wrong).
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: thebengalgent on July 28, 2004, 06:51:24 PM
I was taught the same thing as well.  But wasn't that the rule only in grade school?  HAHA.

In all seriousness, the word "however" is better than "but", but there is nothing wrong with starting a sentence with but or and.
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: calguy815 on July 28, 2004, 07:02:49 PM
It is discouraged when a student is just starting out learning grammatical rules; however, I remain convinced that it can be used properly in certain situations.  Exceptions to some grammar rules break up the monotony of essays if cleverly used.  But I definitely agree that when in doubt, just stick to the old rules.
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: GentleTim on July 29, 2004, 01:46:45 AM
It's one of those rules you should follow until you know when you can break it.
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: jrhc1210 on July 29, 2004, 04:50:08 AM
I am old school, and was taught over and over, to absolutely NEVER start a sentence with AND or BUT.  What is the new generation being taught?  Other than don't listen to old school folks
 ;)

I'm not an English major, but my teachers have always drilled it into me that I shouldn't start sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Then again, they also beat the passive voice out of me, and I've never really understood that one.
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: The Name's Dali on July 29, 2004, 05:38:49 AM
yeah, sign me up for that class ;)
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: lexylit on July 29, 2004, 09:29:27 AM
very sweet. you would definitely do well in my ESL class. i bet you could choose between "a" and "an" like nobody's business! :P
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: uncgal05 on July 29, 2004, 09:32:47 AM
I am an English major, and for some reason I love starting sentences with and. BUT, i do remember in a class  I took last semester my seasoned prof crossed it out every time i did it. So I guess it was wrong. >:(
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: mkagan on July 29, 2004, 12:05:29 PM
Just because your professor didnt like it, doesnt mean it was wrong. I had a professor cross out nymphomaniac when i was talking about Ben Franklin: not because it wasnt a word, i just dont think he liked who i was attributing it to (i dont think he liked my final choice of debauchery any better). in any case, starting sentences with and/but is grammatically correct. they just teach you when you are young not to do so because oftentimes kids do it incorrectly when they are first learning the language.

I am an English major, and for some reason I love starting sentences with and. BUT, i do remember in a class  I took last semester my seasoned prof crossed it out every time i did it. So I guess it was wrong. >:(
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: lexylit on July 29, 2004, 12:07:08 PM
what second language is involved in your class?

uhh, english? hence "english as a second language"  ::)
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: aboynoir on July 29, 2004, 12:08:58 PM
Do not start a sentence with and or but in your presonal statement.
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: lexylit on July 29, 2004, 12:10:11 PM
despite his babyface, i have a sneaking suspicion "aboynoir" is just a pseudonym for the director of admissions at yale
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: aboynoir on July 29, 2004, 01:24:11 PM
despite his babyface, i have a sneaking suspicion "aboynoir" is just a pseudonym for the director of admissions at yale

If you are going to operate under that assumption, would it be out of order to promise you admittance in exchange for a date? Touché. ;D
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: Cheeks on July 29, 2004, 02:00:20 PM
Do not start a sentence with and or but in your presonal statement.

I think i disagree with this.  Like Lexy said, there's no set rule.  Plus, it depends how you want your personal statement to sound.  If you want it to be extremely formal, then it probably wouldn't be a good idea ... otherwise, I say go for whatever ...
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: swifty on July 29, 2004, 02:07:24 PM
Just because your professor didnt like it, doesnt mean it was wrong. I had a professor cross out nymphomaniac when i was talking about Ben Franklin: not because it wasnt a word, i just dont think he liked who i was attributing it to (i dont think he liked my final choice of debauchery any better). in any case, starting sentences with and/but is grammatically correct. they just teach you when you are young not to do so because oftentimes kids do it incorrectly when they are first learning the language.

I am an English major, and for some reason I love starting sentences with and. BUT, i do remember in a class  I took last semester my seasoned prof crossed it out every time i did it. So I guess it was wrong. >:(

The one I'll never forget is I was marked down for using "facial features" when I was writing on a book.  The freaking author used the term over and over, so I used it.  His reason was it sounds redundant.  This was a high school Lit instructor.  Go figure. 
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: aboynoir on July 29, 2004, 02:07:41 PM
Do not start a sentence with and or but in your presonal statement.

I think i disagree with this.  Like Lexy said, there's no set rule.  Plus, it depends how you want your personal statement to sound.  If you want it to be extremely formal, then it probably wouldn't be a good idea ... otherwise, I say go for whatever ...

But I do not think it is a good idea. And, furthermore, I am the authority on proper sentence structure.  :o
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: GA_Kristi on July 29, 2004, 06:48:41 PM
I'm not an English major, but my teachers have always drilled it into me that I shouldn't start sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Then again, they also beat the passive voice out of me, and I've never really understood that one.

Ditto.  My whole family is in the printing business and I've had proofreaders read over my work hundreds of times...no starting sentences with "but" or "and," and my other pet peeve...no contractions (don't, I'm, can't).  This is formal writing people...unless you have a reason to break the rules (for effect or something I guess), I'm against breaking them in the personal statement.
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: nathanielmark on July 29, 2004, 06:50:20 PM
GA Kristi, did you get my PS?  ???
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: GA_Kristi on July 29, 2004, 06:54:23 PM
Yes, but I'm on the road moving cross-country from Atlanta to California for law school.  I meant to email you back and tell you I'd get to it ASAP, but the hotels I've stayed in haven't had great internet.  I get to CA tomorrow night, I'll try and email you my comments this weekend if that's ok!  :)

I'm sitting in a hotel lobby in AZ using their wireless connection as we speak, so I'll download the file onto my computer and take it back to my room to keep me company tonight!  :)  lol
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: nathanielmark on July 29, 2004, 08:23:46 PM
wow, i guess i caught you right at the last moment.  if you cant get to it no sweat.  but i def appreciate your willingness to help.  it must be a fun trip, you going it alone?  i love road trips more then nearly anything.  NoVA to Houston is the furthest ive gone though.


Yes, but I'm on the road moving cross-country from Atlanta to California for law school.  I meant to email you back and tell you I'd get to it ASAP, but the hotels I've stayed in haven't had great internet.  I get to CA tomorrow night, I'll try and email you my comments this weekend if that's ok!  :)

I'm sitting in a hotel lobby in AZ using their wireless connection as we speak, so I'll download the file onto my computer and take it back to my room to keep me company tonight!  :)  lol
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: swifty on July 31, 2004, 10:36:50 PM
I'm not an English major, but my teachers have always drilled it into me that I shouldn't start sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Then again, they also beat the passive voice out of me, and I've never really understood that one.

Ditto.  My whole family is in the printing business and I've had proofreaders read over my work hundreds of times...no starting sentences with "but" or "and," and my other pet peeve...no contractions (don't, I'm, can't).  This is formal writing people...unless you have a reason to break the rules (for effect or something I guess), I'm against breaking them in the personal statement.

Old school also tells me to write in the third person, ie, absolutely never use I, you, or we unless told to do otherwise.  I understand that your PS should use "I", but what about "you" or "we" ?
Title: Re: ATTN: ALL English Majors
Post by: shortbus on August 01, 2004, 03:28:22 PM
No contractions?? The problem with most academic / "formal" writing is it trains you to be boring and self-important in your prose. The goal of writing is to communicate. The right rules depend on the context & the audience.

I disagree that the personal statement is formal writing. It is a *personal* statement intended to illustrate who you are. It is not a research paper on yourself.