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.
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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:
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
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
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.
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.
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