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When is it OK to start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction?

You can use a comma or a dash to connect these pairs of sentences, but writing them separately is not incorrect. It is looked upon by some as informal.

He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. And that was the end of him.
He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. But his wife didn’t leave him.
He started a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. Or perhaps he only dreamed that he did, because the kale was spoiled.

Does OK mean grammatical or stylistically acceptable? This statement from an Oxford Dictionaries blog addresses the question:

[T]his is a stylistic preference rather than a grammatical “rule.” . . .

Published 29 May 2019

In MLA style, should any part of a two-word preposition, such as according to , be capitalized in a title?

A preposition that is not at the start or end of a title should be lowercased, no matter how many words compose it and no matter how long those words are. A few examples:
according to
as regards
except for
other than
Some other styles capitalize a preposition or a word that belongs to a preposition if it has five letters or more.
If John Irving’s novel appeared in an essay or works-cited list published by the MLA, it would be styled The World according to Garp.

Published 1 January 2019

When I use too in the sense of “also,” should I use a comma before it?

In most cases, you need not use a comma before too at the end of a sentence or commas around it midsentence:

She likes chocolate chip cookies too.
She too likes chocolate chip cookies.

But, as usage experts note, you must use commas when too separates the verb from its object (Cook 126):

I note, too, that you have eaten all the chocolate chip cookies.

Work Cited
Cook, Claire Kehrwald. Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985. 


  . . .

Published 20 November 2018

What is the MLA’s approach to the singular they?

In its publications, the MLA generally does not use the plural pronoun they (or their, them, and themselves) to refer to singular nouns. While the singular they is not uncommon in spoken English and in some informal contexts, in formal writing it is best to reword for agreement in number. In the following example their and they are mismatched with each student:

Each student is expected to choose the topic of their research paper before they take the midterm.

In our editorial practice, . . .

Published 3 October 2018

Should shortened generic forms of proper nouns be capitalized?

In general, lowercase generic forms of proper nouns:

the United States Army, the army
President Kennedy, the president
the Brooklyn Bridge, the bridge
Housatonic River, the river

But, as The Chicago Manual of Style notes, capitalize generic terms if necessary for clarity (“Wars”):

the French Revolution, the Revolution of 1789, the Revolution, the revolution of 1848

Work Cited
“Wars and Revolutions.” The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., sec. 8.113, U of Chicago P, 2017,
  . . .

Published 9 August 2018

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