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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

When should a beverage name be capitalized?

If the beverage is a brand name or a unique recipe title or includes a proper noun, capitalize it:

Frappucino  (a coinage trademarked by Starbucks)
Pear-enthetical Citation (a recipe title in MLA Members Cook!)
Arnold Palmer (named after a person)
Long Island iced tea (includes a place-name) 

But when the drink is a generic term, lowercase it:

pumpkin spice latte 
hot toddy
carrot smoothie

Sometimes drink names composed of proper nouns can be lowercased:

Manhattan or manhattan

Consult a dictionary for guidance or read our post on cocktail names.

Published 27 May 2019

How do you punctuate a question that quotes a question?

Do not use two question marks. Use only the question mark contained in the quotation:

Which Shakespeare character asked, “Is this a dagger which I see before me,  / The handle toward my hand?” 

But if the sentence includes a parenthetical citation, place the question mark after the citation:

How would you respond to the writer’s question, “How important is punctuation” (5)?


Published 30 April 2019

How does the MLA handle an orphaned word?

In our publications, we prefer to avoid an orphan—a word alone on a line or at the end of a paragraph—if the word, including any punctuation, is fewer than five characters (e.g., too.). We also prefer to avoid part of a word on a line by itself (e.g., sighted, if the full word is farsighted). An exception is made if Merriam-Webster includes the hyphen in the word (e.g., far-fetched).
In general, student writers and scholars submitting manuscripts for publication need not be concerned about orphaned words since publishers,

Published 22 March 2019

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