June 8, 2012
Putting “However” at the Beginning of a Sentence
Is it ungrammatical to write “The weather is great today. However, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.”? According to University of Edinburgh Professor Geoffrey Pullum (and me), placing “however” at the beginning of a sentence is perfectly acceptable and always has been. He blames Strunk & White’s Elements of Style for creating the myth to the contrary:
The connective adjunct however has always been grammatically and stylistically permitted as the first word of an independent clause, and there is no reason to think otherwise unless you believe authoritarian old nitwits like Strunk and White when they assert something that, as the literature of their time will readily show you, is entirely without rationale.
I blame turn of the century grammarians who wanted to give English more structure and looked to the Latin language where “however” (“autem”) always appeared inside a sentence.
Professor Pullum’s posting offers numerous examples of classic authors breaking the supposed rule.
June 8, 2012 | Permalink
But is almost always better, however.
Posted by: Otto | Jun 9, 2012 9:29:44 AM