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Beginning a sentence with a conjunction

BelindaC1Kwiziq community member

Beginning a sentence with a conjunction

Hello

I have often noticed that sentences in French begin with 'Et'. Is this considered 'good' French, as in English it would be considered very poor grammar?

Furthermore, I have often noticed the use of a comma before 'et'. Once again, in English this would be considered poor grammar. Is this optional or required in French? 

I look forward to your response. 

Thank you for your fantastic lessons! 



Asked 7 months ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Belinda,

We're really happy that you're enjoying our lessons and content so much!

You can be used "et" at the beginning of a sentence to emphasise an opposition or a feeling, to underline a succession of ideas or to increase the rhythm of a dialogue or a story (and it is often used in spoken/everyday French). However, many grammarians (purists) do not recognise this use of "et".

You can also see the use of a comma (actually two commas) after "et", especially in a story:

Il se tourna et, soudainement, il lui prit la main. = He turned and suddenly took her hand.
Marie parle plusieurs langues et, dit-il, est extrêmement intelligente = Marie speaks several languages and is extremely clever, he said.

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Belinda,

In this very instance ('Ensuite, Maria a emmené son visiteur au restaurant sur la place du village, et ils ont déjeuné en terrasse.'), "et" can be preceded by a comma to emphazise the last statement / a consequence (sharp break) in the sentence or to create a clear end (dramatic effect) to the sentence.

Take a look here for more details (comparing English and French use of commas with a succession of items):

Comparing French and English Styles and Punctuation Patterns

et précédé de la virgule

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

BelindaC1Kwiziq community member

Bonjour Céline

Thank you for your prompt response! 

Your examples regarding the commas are as they would also be used in English.

I was specifically referring to cases where I have seen a comma before 'et'.

I managed to find a specific example: (Taken from : 'Une Promenade en Ville) 

'Ensuite, Maria a emmené son visiteur au restaurant sur la place du village, et ils ont déjeuné en terrasse.'

In English there would not be a comma before 'et'.

In an instance where not having the comma is being highlighted as a fault this then indicates that the comma is required, as was the case in that exercise. 

I will look out for your response. 

Thanks again. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Belinda, 

just a comment to the English: a comma before the and of the last item in a list is perfectly OK (it's called the Oxford comma): wine, beer, and whisky.

Even a comma before a conjunction joining two complete sentences is fine and generally even required.

Beginning a sentence with a conjunction

Hello

I have often noticed that sentences in French begin with 'Et'. Is this considered 'good' French, as in English it would be considered very poor grammar?

Furthermore, I have often noticed the use of a comma before 'et'. Once again, in English this would be considered poor grammar. Is this optional or required in French? 

I look forward to your response. 

Thank you for your fantastic lessons! 



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