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Teacher corrects poorly written letter from pupil

by: Marilyn Owen (28 May 2014)

A teacher recently received a letter from a disgruntled pupil who vowed he was doing no more homework.

The teacher got his own back on the pupil by correcting his numerous errors in red ink. The letter was subsequently posted to Reddit and went viral.

This is the letter that the pupil sent to his teacher. It begins in a polite vein, acknowledging the good quality of teaching he and his class had received from the teacher. However, the tone of the letter soon degenerated into expletives.

This is the letter:

Dear English IV Teacher
During my time in your class It's been fun enjoyed the class for the most part. You're a pretty cool teacher and you taught us a lot. But seeing that this senior project is over I plan to do no more work for English IV. I believe that my classmates will agree when I say this next statement: F*** You, F*** English IV, I'm pretty much out this b****. Oh and that essay you want us to write for wuthering heights..f*** that too or any other work you're expecting us to do
Sincerly every Senior @MCK

And (note the conjunction beginning the sentence!) the teacher concluded her corrected version with the following advice: "Please use your education appropriately. Proofreading takes five minutes and keeps you from looking stupid."

The interesting (and debatable) point, however, is that the teacher corrected every conjunction used at the beginning of a sentence. Among comments sent in by Daily Mail readers were complaints that the teacher was actually wrong in insisting that a sentence cannot be begun with a conjunction. One reader from Bristol said: "Conjunctions can be placed at the start of a sentence with no breach of grammatical 'rules', so if the conjunction 'but' can begin an independent clause it can begin a sentence. Many grammar and usage experts have tried to squash this myth, but sadly it's still being handed down to English students. It seems she isn't as smart as she thinks she is."

Another simply asserted: "It is perfectly fine to start a sentence with a conjunction."

Meanwhile, others asserted that the writer of the poorly written letter should be ashamed of his many errors, especially as English was his first language.

What do YOU think Ė IS it "perfectly fine" to start sentences with a conjunction such as "and" and "but"? Or is this a serious breach of an English grammatical rule?

Read more: Daily mail article.

Views: 1931

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Ref: 77 I was taught never to use conjunctions to start a sentence and even today, whether writing or proofreading, I stick to the rules!
Romany - 13:05 29-05-2014
Ref: 76 I'd have no problem starting sentences with conjunctions in a novel. I'd be less inclined to do so in more formal non-fiction, however.
Garry - 12:18 29-05-2014
Ref: 75 It's true that's what we were taught and is correct for academic work. However, note the following from the Oxford Dictionary website: You might have been taught that itís not good English to start a sentence with a conjunction such as and or but. Itís not grammatically incorrect to do so, however, and many respected writers use conjunctions at the start of a sentence to create a dramatic or forceful effect. For example: What are the governmentís chances of winning in court? And what are the consequences? Anyway, this is a good topic for debate!
Marilyn - 11:33 29-05-2014
Ref: 74 I was taught never to use conjunctions to start a sentence and even today, whether writing or proofreading, I stick to the rules!
Romany - 11:22 29-05-2014

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