Don’t use fragments. Never begin a sentence with a conjunction and don’t end with a preposition either. We all remember the grammar rules learned in school.
But copywriters like me love to break them. We don’t do it to test our clients or because we don’t respect rules. We do it to grab your reader’s attention, make a connection and sound human. You might still think it’s wrong, but maybe this will help…
Using prepositions as finales
What kind of book are you looking for?
For what kind of book are you looking?
The second one is considered grammatically correct, but do you really speak that way? If I were writing in a very formal tone or for certain audiences, I might use the second version. But for marketing or web copy that is conversational and more natural, I’d end with a preposition.
Don’t get me wrong. In certain cases, ending with a preposition will never be appropriate (“Where’s he at?” for example). Otherwise, experts still debate whether it’s a strict rule or a holdover from Latin grammar that doesn’t apply to English.
Conjunctions and flow
Conjunctions usually fade into the background. We barely notice they’re there. But when they start a sentence, they shine a bit. Beginning with “and” or “but” will catch the eye, while still helping with word flow. It also allows you to connect thoughts while maintaining brevity. And, yes, it works.
Why fragments work
I love fragments. Really. They can add punch, especially to short ad copy. Copywriters use them as verbal exclamation points, sudden stops to alter rhythm, and as attention getters. In fact, they’re very useful tools in the ad copywriter’s toolbox.
So the next time you see what looks like a grammatical error, take a second look. That copywriter might be breaking the rules on purpose. Because if there’s a choice between stilted language and punchy, readable copy, we’ll go for the second every time.
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