And at the beginning of sentences…

Heute ein Beitrag von Aleksandra Subic – Trainee aus Kanada

In defense of AND
Time after time, we’ve had customers come back to us with: “you can’t start a sentence with ‘and’…can you?”

There’s no denying it – we Crellins are quite fond of starting sentences with the infamous ‘and’. But, are we simply taking artistic license? Or, can we put our conjunctions where our mouth is?

Who’s right?
The naysayers may have the cautionary words of their third-grade teachers on their side, but we have something better – The Chicago Manual of Style (not to mention The Times, the BBC and others).

Here is what the Essential Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers has to say on the subject:

“There is a widespread belief – one with no historical or grammatical foundation – that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions.”

Still not convinced? Then, let’s consult another well-respected authority on all things English grammar – Merriam-Webster.

“Everybody agrees that it’s alright to begin a sentence with and, and nearly everybody admits to having been taught at some past time that the practice was wrong. Most of us think the prohibition goes back to our early school days. Baily 1984 points out that the prohibition is probably meant to correct the tendency of children to string together independent clauses or simple declarative sentences with ands: “We got in the car and we went to the movie and I bought some popcorn and…”

Trust the classics
According to Merriam-Webster, ‘and’ can be found at the head of many a memorable sentence in Shakespeare’s King John (act iv, scene 1), the Gospel of St. John, xxi: 21 and other well-thumbed works.

‘And’ in the 21st century
OK, how about some contemporary examples? Can some leading newspapers and magazine finally put the debate to rest?

“Al-Qaeda is a Saudi-Egyptian alliance that was formed to topple the Saudi and Egyptian regimes and others like them. And this is why bin Laden’s death comes at a particularly bad moment for the movement he launched.” (Time magazine, 20 May 2011, page 46)

“The odds are that Serbia will get candidate status but a date to start talks may be too much to hope for. And, besides, while the arrest of Gen Mladic is a huge obstacle removed from Serbia’s path, it is not the only one.” (BBC online, 27 May 2011,

“Like national governments, sporting bodies […] also raise revenue and redistribute wealth. And they are prone to poor administration and to rent-seeking.” (The Economist, 26 May 2011,

And that is enough!
So, there you have it folks – we don’t just do it because it’s cool, it’s also perfectly acceptable. Still, many commentators advise against overusing ‘and’ at the head of a sentence since it really can be too much of a good thing. And it really packs a punch when used sparingly. If you feel like you’ve moved past grade school grammar, than let ‘and’ lead the way.

Lunge for that lounge!

In der Schweiz kann man ein fünfteiliges Wohnzimmer für den Balkon kaufen (oder gleich ein ganzes Loft).

Hier wird wieder mal abgekürzt und umgedreht auf germanische Art und Weise – und es kommt was ganz Komisches hinten raus.

Also: lounge ist für uns eindeutig ein Wohnzimmer und nicht die dadrin aufgestellten Möbelstücke. Selbst lounge furniture findet man nicht auf dem Balkon sondern innen drin mit eingebautem Teenager vorm Fernseher. Draußen gibt es höchstens all-weather lounge furniture oder garden lounge furniture.

Und besonders grausam ist die beliebte Aussprache “lunj” (statt “lau-nj”). A lunge ist das plötzliche “nach vorne Greifen.” Drum habe ich neulich, als meine Freundin auf den Kauf einer “lunj” für den Balkon gedrängt hat, die Transaktion aus sprachlichen Gründen abgelehnt.

Carsharing, Mitfahren

Heute ein Gastbeitrag von Anna Gentle:

Red is green
Take a walk through Stuttgart (or other major German city) and your eye may be drawn to bright red advertisements for bright red cars in a variety of shapes and sizes. “Carsharing”, as it’s called, is a cheaper, greener alternative to owning your own car – simply sign up online and gain access to a fleet of vehicles close to your home on a pay-as-you-drive basis. Smart idea. But shame about the name. Carsharing is pretty difficult to read as one word. In fact, I reckon some native English speakers would have a job deciphering it. Car sharing, as two words, is an improvement – but it’s still not a common English term (though, of course, there are exceptions: A nicer, more descriptive and idiomatic way to express the concept is “car-pool scheme/program.” Or if you must stick to the sharing idea, then go for car-share scheme/program (not sharing).

Need a lift?
Another popular model in Germany is the Mitfahrgelegenheit. But how do you translate that? I recently came across a well-written piece in the UK’s Independent which referred to a similar system as a “shared-ride scheme.” A succinct way of expressing another interesting answer to today’s traffic and transport problems.