Thus/Consequently, for work experience I explored various legal sectors

< Previous | Next >

Aero101

New Member
English
To begin a sentence with hence, consequently or therefore?

I was reading the advice above but was wondering if this sentence is correct grammatically. It is from my personal statement in which I am applying for Law so it has to be perfect!

"I enjoyed studying all of these but the subject that was of particular interest to me was Politics; I found the module on the British judiciary particularly intriguing and it intensified my already fervent interest in Law. Thus/Consequently, for work experience I explored various legal sectors by shadowing professionals from a solicitor’s firm and the PPS, and the prospect of studying Law at University became very appealing to me."

I would appreciate any advice! Thanks
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • Rman

    New Member
    American English
    Hello all,

    If I may be so bold with my first post...

    ...It is from my personal statement in which I am applying for Law so it has to be perfect!

    "I enjoyed studying all of these but the subject that was of particular interest to me was Politics; I found the module on the British judiciary particularly intriguing and it intensified my already fervent interest in Law. Thus/Consequently, for work experience I explored various legal sectors by shadowing professionals from a solicitor’s firm and the PPS, and the prospect of studying Law at University became very appealing to me."
    If it is for an academic environment, or otherwise needs to be grammatically correct as apposed to simply Standard English, I would advise the following:

    "I enjoyed studying all of these, but the subject that was of particular interest to me was Politics. I found the module on the British judiciary particularly intriguing, and it intensified my already fervent interest in Law; thus/consequently for work experience, I explored various legal sectors by shadowing professionals from a solicitor’s firm and the PPS, and the prospect of studying Law at University became very appealing to me
    ."
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I find the idea that you shouldn't start a sentence with any of hence, consequently or therefore (and I would add accordingly) rather curious. I would prefer to see therefore later on in the sentence, but that's just my personal view.

    As for and and but.... I find this to be terrible (and old-fashioned) advice, with one proviso (see last paragraph).
    It's a question of style. In novels and prose generally it is demonstrably not the case that sentences never begin with and or but. It is done for effect, although it should not be overdone.

    However, in a CV/resumé I agree that starting a sentence with but or and doesn't look good and would probably create a bad impression (i.e. the writer is unable to express themself clearly or has a poor writing style).
     

    Rman

    New Member
    American English
    e2efour,

    Consider these sentences.

    1. I am going to get a Masters in business, therefore I expect to earn a good salary.

    2. I am going to get a Masters in business; I expect, therefore, to earn a good salary.

    Therefore is found in different places in the second independent clause, but the sentences are virtually the same. There is no problem with either.

    Now consider these two sentences:

    1. I am going to get a Masters in business. Therefore I expect to earn a good salary.

    2. I am going to get a Masters in business. I expect, therefore, to earn a good salary.

    These sentences are also effectively the same sentence. The first tends to offend the ear because the conjunctive adverb therefore immediately clues the reader that the previous sentence should not have ended. If the reader is paying attention, he or she will realize the same problem with the second sentence.

    My advice was given to Aero101 for academic purposes, or if the writing otherwise needed to be grammatically correct, as apposed to a need simply to satisfy Standard English. Standard English does not necessarily mean that the writing is grammatically correct. Sad, huh?

    You mentioned that to proscribe beginning a sentence with and or but is terrible and old fashioned advice as it is a matter of style.

    Style is a matter of usage. Grammatically speaking, such sentences are ungrammatical. That doesn't stop reputable writers from cheerfully ignoring the rule.

    As for being old fashioned, my copy of The Elements of Style says this: 4. Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause. Rules 5 and 6 only bolster this rule.

    I could name countless other prescriptive sources that state basically the same thing. The rule is current; it is simply ignored by nearly everyone, including the writers of the grammars that set forth the proscription.

    If you need to introduce a contrary idea with emphasis, you can use an EM dash. You can end a sentence with an exclamation mark if you want emphasis. Build suspense with an ellipses. If no emphasis is required, there is plenty of style in commas and semicolons.

    Those in the know will be refreshed by such writing; you will be perhaps the only person they read who writes correctly--but that is only my opinion.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Hi Rman and welcome to the forum!

    I'm not quite sure what point you are making about therefore. If you prefer to put it in a sentence after a semi-colon, fine (I'm not so sure about putting after a comma, though).

    I don't know why you think there is any connection between style and grammar, which is concerned mainly with the rules of syntax.

    As for The Elements of Style (which I haven't read), it has been described in respectable circles as "a horrid little compendium of unmotivated prejudices (don't use ongoing), arbitrary stipulations (don't begin a sentence with however), and fatuous advice ("Be clear"),.... and grotesquely wrong in most of the grammatical advice it gives." (see Language Log)

    You mention that reputable writers and the authors of style books cheerfully ignore the rules they give. That doesn't surprise me in the least.

    I hadn't read your advice to Aero101 since the sentence should have been put in a separate thread according to the forum rules.
     

    Rman

    New Member
    American English
    Thank you for the welcome!

    My point about therefore, and the preceding punctuation is that of a signpost. An independent clause beginning with a conjunctive adverb preceded by a period is a misqueue.

    If you refer to that "horrid little compendium...," you will notice they make a terribly good point. When however is used in first position, it means in whatever way or to whatever extent." This is evidenced by the sensibility of the sentence, "However he did it, it was very clever." On the other hand, the following sentence is not sensible, "However, he managed to make it to the show." If you don't use however as prescribed by The Elements of Style, you remove my signpost.

    I didn't mean to elude to any connection between style and grammar. I actually differentiated between the two terms. Stylistically, you can do just about whatever you want. Your writing will then be judged as non-standard, informal standard, or standard, etc. On the contrary, my advice was to offer the poster a grammatically correct solution for an academic venue, which would be the incorrect rhetorical context to promote style over grammar...most likely.

    With no Academy of American English, the idea of "correct" is a slippery slope. You can write whatever you want--you may not get publish, but you can write whatever you want; however we all depend on rules that define what is accepted by society.

    When someone asks a question of grammar, it is based on a need to understand a rule in spite of the fact that there is no academy. We have to find these answers somewhere, so we turn to usage books. As I mentioned in my last post, if you don't find The Elements of Style a credible source, I could have quoted other sources that say the same thing. I just didn't bother because they say the same thing.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top