Part A: Beginning Sentences with. Like other coordinating conjunctions, “yet” is perfectly acceptable as a sentence-starter. It’s a rank superstition to believe otherwise. E.g.:
o “Yet if a student can — and this is most difficult and unusual — draw back, get a critical distance on what he clings to, come to doubt the ultimate value of what he loves, he has taken the first and most difficult step toward the philosophic conversion.” Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind 71 (1987).
o “Yet God must by now be hardened to blasphemous bulls.” Christopher Ricks, Beckett’s Dying Words 170 (1993).
o “Campaign professionals . . . are becoming the new breed of influence peddlers. Yet they don’t need to register as lobbyists in Washington.” Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, “Washington’s Power 25,” Fortune, 8 Dec. 1997, at 144.
Part B: Idioms Involving “yet.” There are two common negative phrases revolving around this word: “no person has yet done something” and “the person has yet to do something.” Some writers have ill-advisedly conflated the two idioms to come up with their own brand of illogic — e.g.: “No artist has yet to capture the essence of the Thai sea.” Advertisement of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Island (Mag.), Fall 1995, at 7. The writer has inadvertently suggested that every artist has already captured the essence of the Thai sea.
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Quotation of the Day: “Much bad writing today . . . is learned, an act of stylistic piety which imitates a single style, the bureaucratic style I have called The Official Style. This bureaucratic style dominates written discourse in our time, and beginning or harried or fearful writers adopt it as protective coloration.” Richard A. Lanham, Revising Prose vi (3d ed. 1992).