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Can I use and (or but, etc.) at the start of a sentence?

Yes. The old "rule" that you cannot begin a sentence with a conjunction has actually gone by the wayside. In casual writing or speech, a sentence can start with and or but. Though these words are mainly used to join elements within a sentence, they have been used to start sentences since the 10th century. Many style guides even say that but is more effective than however at the beginning of a sentence. But, in any case, do use variety in the way you start sentences and try to start consecutive sentences with different words. The groundless suggestion that it is incorrect to begin a sentence with but or and is as silly as saying it is incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition.

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