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Starting a sentence with the conjunctions ‘and’ or ‘but’

I was always taught at school that you should never, ever begin a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. I think that, in general, this is a good rule to follow. However, as with most rules, there are always exceptions. One of the most common exceptions would be in a story where there is dialogue and one of the characters is talking:

"But, given how dangerous he is, shouldn’t we lock him up?"

It’s fine to start this sentence with ‘but’. But don’t get too enthusiastic about it. If you feel you have to start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’, think about these two things:

Should you really be connecting this sentence to the previous sentence using the conjunction?

I am scared of heights. But I am still willing to go climbing.

This should probably become:

I am scared of heights, but I am still willing to go climbing.

Can you just ditch the conjunction altogether and still have a sentence that makes sense?

And Johnny has never seen the ocean.

Is much better without the ‘and’:

Johnny has never seen the ocean.