We have mentioned once before the “AI assistant” that works in Zoho Writer to give you “grammar, readability, and style suggestions to further polish your piece.” If you begin a sentence with the word “But,” here is the advice you get:
But → However
Conjunction at the beginning of a sentence
Though not grammatically incorrect, using conjunctions like and, or, or but at the beginning of a sentence is not recommended in formal writing. It tends to make sentences sound more dramatic.
We have accidentally come across the golden key that opens up “formal writing” as a style. Beginning sentences with conjunctions is not recommended because it sounds more dramatic. Formal writing, then, must be writing whose purpose is specifically not to engage the reader’s attention. It is very impolite to wake up your readers with a jolt while they pass over your words with unfocused eyes. We use “formal” style specifically to prevent communication from happening. Substitute “however” for “but” and let your readers get back to their naps.
If, however, Zia the AI assistant were really on the ball, she would point out that “however” also ought not to begin a sentence if we wish to maintain a strictly formal style.