12 December 2011

And now a post about initial conjunctions

For as long as I've been writing this blog, I've used conjunctions to begin sentences.  And none of the copyeditors who visit TYWKIWDBI have reprimanded me for doing so.  But I still wondered if it was o.k.  So today I'm posting this excerpt from Language Log.  After confirming the well-documented Biblical propensity for initial conjunctions, Mark Liberman examined the writings of the United States Supreme Court (graph above) -
I grouped these files into five-year periods from 1801 to 2005 (e.g. 1801-1805, 1806-1810, etc.), and counted the frequency of sentence-initial and and but in each time-slice... (Of course, the number of authors per year is much lower, and stylistic variation among individual justices and clerks is a plausible source of year-to-year variation.)... After two centuries of apparent decline, the use of sentence-initial coordinators seems to have been rebounding a bit recently... One thing is clear, though. For the past two centuries the U.S. Supreme Court has been using sentence-initial and at rates substantially higher than those found in COCA's "academic" section...
And now on to something completely different...


  1. Following the link seems to indicate that the Y-axis is frequency per million words not per million sentences.

  2. I don't think anyone noticed your exclusive use of initial conjunctions on this post.


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