200 Words ~ Day 2

Mood ring

Mood ring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think of when you hear the words “mood changers”.  Winning the lottery?  A drug of choice?  A favourite libation?  Admittedly they enhance or at the very least, change our mood. But the mood changer I am going to introduce you to is the word ‘BUT’.

In his book “On Writing Well”, William Zinsser, says that ‘but’, along with its cousins –yet, however, thus, therefore, and meanwhile, “alert the reader….to any change in mood from the previous sentence.” Outrageously, he says that it is okay to begin a sentence with ‘but’. How many times did our grammar teachers try to beat into our little noggins that this was a “no, no” punishable by changing a grade from A+ to merely an A?

Zinsser tells us to unlearn this rule. He says that ‘but’ “announces total contrast with what has gone on before” thus priming the reader for a change in mood. I have used the word “but” to start sentences for years, thinking I was a rebel—that I knew the rules, and therefore I could break them.

Not sure if I am disappointed now that it is okay.