One of the hardest things about writing is knowing whether you are using the correct word in different contexts. For instance, some notorious homonyms trip up people regularly.
Some famous examples are “your” and “you’re;” “their,” “they’re,” and “there;” and “to,” “too,” and “two.”
On the other hand, some words can be hard to use because there are conflicting rules surrounding them.
For example, who here hasn’t heard of the rule that says you shouldn’t use “and” at the beginning of a sentence?
Yet, what’s confusing is that several writers, including myself, do put “and” at the beginning of their sentences, discarding the rule altogether. So, who’s right?
Another one that some might find confusing is whether you can put “also” at the beginning of a sentence, and if so, how do you use it?
Can we start a sentence with “also”?
Yes, you can start a sentence with “also.” In fact, unlike the conjunction “and,” there is no ambiguity or disagreement here. Everyone says you can use “also” at the beginning of a sentence.
How do you use “also” at the beginning of a sentence?
Before looking at how to use “also,” let’s talk about which part of speech it constitutes.
“Also” is a conjunctive adverb. This means that it is used to connect two independent clauses together and to show the relationship between them.
In the case of “also,” the connection between the two clauses tends to be one of addition.
In other words, “also” is used when creating a list and you want to add something to that list.
It is similar to other conjunctive adverbs, including “additionally,” “over and above,” and “in addition.”
Using “also” at the beginning of a sentence
As mentioned, “also” ties two independent clauses together.
In the above example, “also” adds another activity to the list of activities Mark accomplished over the summer.
There are a few things worth noting here. Unlike coordinating conjunctions, you cannot tie both clauses with a comma. There has to be a period between them.
Ergo, the following sentence is wrong.
If you want to use a comma, you should use “and.”
The other thing to notice is that when conjunctive adverbs come at the beginning of a sentence, they are followed by a comma, and “also” is no exception.
Here are other examples highlighting this second point.
Are there other ways “also” can come at the beginning of a sentence?
Yes, this could happen through fronting and inverting.
Fronting and inverting
In formal writing, one trick people use is called fronting. This is when something that should have been at the end of a sentence comes at the front.
As a result, you will end up with an inverted sentence, which is why adverbs like “also” can come in the beginning.
Here is what that would look like.
Sad is the man who has no friends.
You see how the original sentence should be “the man who has no friends is sad,” yet through fronting, we ended up with a lopsided sentence.
Here is an example with “also.”
If the above sentence feels a bit stuffy, it’s supposed to. But, in this case, “also” is not followed by a comma.
You see, the natural sentence should have been “The improvement of one’s writing ability is also necessary,” where “also” is an adverb that does not take a comma on either side.
Can “also” come in the middle of a sentence?
The answer is obviously yes. However, in this case, “also” will be an adverb, so there won’t be a need for any commas regardless of where it comes in the sentence.
Can “also” come at the end of a sentence?
Grammatically, there is nothing wrong with it. You can use “also” at the end of a sentence.
But, if you want your writing to flow smoothly, you might want to consider using “too” instead of “also.”
While the first sentence is correct, the second one sounds more natural. And, when choosing between two alternatives, always go for what sounds more natural.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.