The first question is May I start a sentence with a transitional word such as and or but? Many of us learned in school that we were never to begin sentences with words such as and, but, because, so, therefore, or any other transitional expression.
But just as in normal business conversations we begin sentences with and, but, because, so, therefore, and other similar words and phrases, it is accepted practice to use these words and phrases to begin sentences in business writing if doing so sounds natural and serves to emphasize your point. And as you may have noticed (but most readers do not), this paragraph and this sentence begin with these words, yet they read comfortably.
Angie, an administrative assistant in an insurance company, said, "It's such a relief to know that I can write the same way that I speak. I used to revise my drafts to a stodgy standard that sounded stilted and uninviting. Now I know I can maintain a conversational tone. And writing is quicker because I don't have to rewrite to add artificial formality.
"For example, instead of 'The Thanksgiving holiday requires that we extend the deadline for budget revisions. Please submit your revisions by December 1, 200x,' I'm able to write 'Because of Thanksgiving, the deadline for budget revisions has been extended to December 1.' Much better."
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