Asked in Academic WritingEnglish LanguageSentence and Word StructureExample Sentences
Can you start a sentence with so?
April 01, 2014 7:41PM
You can start sentences with the word "so"; there is no meaningful rule against it. For example:
So dense was the undergrowth that John was lost in it within five minutes.
Many professors have agreed that reading papers with sentences that begin with "So..." says this student was not taught PROPER English, but that is only their opinion. The sentence above is like poetry -and in poetry or descriptive writing, we NEED to heighten the characteristics of what we are talking about -the subject (the subject in the above sentence: 'the undergrowth'; the description: 'so dense'. In that sentence, with using 'so', it is fine...actually wonderful...pleasing to the reader (I knew how dense the undergrowth was before I knew that John spent five minutes in it..and I was able to visualize this better)
Go back to First grade for a moment and think about how you would talk to a five or six year old to excite them. Perhaps something like, "The oceanic habitat is home to millions of sea creatures-even sharks!" (I'm letting students know about the ocean -like the initial sentence let me know about the undergrowth -I, as would a five or six year old, would be intrigued.) Then I would say, "Oceans cover seventy-five percent of our Earth!" (Kids would think about how high of a number that is and be amazed-even more excited, and perhaps be able to visualize an imaginative sight of all of those fish and sharks covering MOST of the world! ....like in the initial sentence when I found out that John was lost in five minutes-because of how dense the overgrowth was.)
Now, if you're still with me, here are some examples of when to use the English 'so' at the beginning of a sentence.
-When writing poetry: "So lovely were the lavender lilacs, I could only breathe in a sweet smell."
-when making an impression on informational essay writing (THIS IS ONLY OKAY 1-2 TIMES) "So these colonies stood strong, just as our America has become."
-when giving speeches (also, see above) "So I say to all my family and friends, take my words and think of them when the sun stops shining so brightly!"