• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46am

Why we must avoid 'but, also and because'...

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 1995, 12:00am

QUESTION: I wonder whether 'but, also and because' can be put in the beginning of a sentence. My teacher said that it was wrong, but I have often read some examples in newspapers. Please help.

JOSEPH, Kowloon Answer: Your teacher was probably trying to tell you that, in terms of style, it is better not to use these words to begin a sentence. However is generally regarded as much better style than but; furthermore or in addition is preferable to and; and since looks much better than because.

Q: What is the difference between 'upon', 'on' and 'beneath'? Please explain and give me some examples. SAMMI, NT A: The prepositions upon and on have the same meaning, but upon has a more poetic or literary feeling about it, for example, 'The Bible tells us that Christ walked upon the water'; 'Mary came upon (found) a small bird lying in the grass'.

Beneath has very much the same meaning as below or underneath. However, in this case also, beneath has a more poetic or literary feeling about it than the two other prepositions, for example, 'the poet sat beneath the moon and wrote all night'; 'He came upon a village beneath some hills'. In the last example beneath means 'at the foot of' or 'very close to'.

Q: I hear people using the words 'definite' and 'definitely' all the time in a way that really bothers me, as in 'I definitely want to see that movie'. They get thrown around so much, and they don't really seem to add anything to the sentence. DICKY, Fan Ling A: Definite is an adjective meaning 'without any uncertainty' for example. 'I demand a definite answer'; 'Can you give me a definite time of your arrival in Hong Kong?' Sometimes definite is used to describe people or behaviour, for example, 'Michael is always definite in everything he does - he rarely changes his mind after making a decision.' Definitely is an adverb which has three major meanings: (1) 'in a definite way', for example, 'Peter spoke very definitely about his intention to resign from the company'; (2) 'without doubt' for example, 'the story is definitely true'; (3) in answer to a question, for example, 'Are you going to Guangzhou tomorrow?' 'Definitely' or 'Definitely, not.' Do you have a question on English to ask Professor Grammar? Write in to: Professor Grammar, Young Post, GPO Box 47, Hong Kong


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