Can You Start a Sentence With “So”?

Is it acceptable to begin a sentence with the conjunction "So"? This question has sparked significant controversy among grammarians and writers alike. The answer, however, may not be as straightforward as you think, but by the end of this article, you'll have a clear understanding of when and how to use "So" at the start of a sentence.

The Role of "So" in a Sentence

"So" is a versatile word in English grammar, primarily serving as a conjunction. As a conjunction, it is used to express a cause-and-effect relationship between two clauses. When placed at the beginning of a sentence, "So" is typically used to connect the sentence with the preceding one, providing continuity and flow to the narrative or argument.

Instances Where Starting With "So" Works Well

There are numerous instances where starting a sentence with "So" is not only grammatically correct, but also stylistically effective. This is often the case in spoken language or informal writing, where "So" is used to create a conversational tone. In these contexts, "So" helps to transition between ideas, summarize previous points or introduce a conclusion.

Sentence Explanation
So, that's why we decided to change our strategy. Here, "So" is used to summarize a previous explanation.
So, what do you think about the new policy? In this question, "So" creates a conversational tone.
So, after all our research, we finally chose the blue design. "So" is used to introduce a conclusion.
So, in light of these findings, we need to adjust our approach. Here, "So" transitions from presenting results to discussing next steps.
So, despite the challenges, we made significant progress. "So" is used to contrast with earlier information.

Instances Where Caution is Needed

Despite its flexibility, starting a sentence with "So" should be done with caution, especially in formal writing. Overuse of "So" can make your writing seem repetitive or informal. It can also create ambiguity if it's not clear what the "So" is referring to.

Sentence Explanation
So, the experiment was a success. Without context, it's unclear what led to the success.
So, as you can see… This phrase can seem redundant or informal in written language.
So, we then decided to… The use of "So" might not be needed, as "then" already shows sequence.
So, the solution is simple. Without preceding information, the use of "So" might seem out of place.
So, I guess we're done here. "So" might not be suitable for formal or academic writing.

Tips for Using "So" at the Beginning of a Sentence

Avoid overusing "So" to start your sentences, as it can make your writing seem repetitive. Use "So" to create a conversational tone in informal writing or spoken language. Ensure that there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the sentence starting with "So" and the preceding sentence.

Common Misconceptions and Myths

A common misconception is that starting a sentence with "So" is always incorrect. This is not entirely true. While some grammarians argue that "So" should not start a sentence, others maintain that it can be used effectively, especially in spoken language or informal writing.

  • Misconception: Starting a sentence with "So" is always informal.
    • Truth: While "So" is typically more common in informal contexts, it can also be used in formal writing to indicate a cause-and-effect relationship.
  • Misconception: "So" cannot start a sentence.
    • Truth: There is no hard-and-fast grammatical rule that prohibits starting a sentence with "So". The appropriateness of its use depends on context and style.


In conclusion, starting a sentence with "So" is not inherently incorrect. It can be effectively used to create a conversational tone, connect ideas, or introduce conclusions. However, caution should be exercised in formal writing and to avoid ambiguity or overuse. Remember, the key lies in understanding your audience, the context, and the purpose of your communication.

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