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As a coordinating conjunction; expressing two elements to be taken together or in addition to each other.
Used simply to connect two noun phrases, adjectives or adverbs.
c. 1430 (reprinted 1888), Thomas Austin, ed., Two Fifteenth-century Cookery-books. Harleian ms. 279 (ab. 1430), & Harl. ms. 4016 (ab. 1450), with Extracts from Ashmole ms. 1429, Laud ms. 553, & Douce ms. 55 , London: N. Trübner & Co. for the Early English Text Society, volume I, OCLC374760, page 11:
Soupes dorye. — Take gode almaunde mylke caste þher-to Safroun an Salt
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
1817 (date written), [Jane Austen], Persuasion; published in Northanger Abbey: And Persuasion., volumes (please specify |volume=III or IV), London: John Murray,, 20 December 1817 (indicated as 1818), →OCLC:
as for Mrs. Smith, she had claims of various kinds to recommend her quickly and permanently.
2011 November 5, Mark Townsend, The Guardian:
‘The UKBA has some serious explaining to do if it is routinely carrying out such abusive and unlawful inspections.’
Beginning a sentence with and or other coordinating conjunctions is considered incorrect by classical grammarians arguing that a coordinating conjunction at the start of a sentence has nothing to connect, but use of the word in this way is very common. The practice will be found in literature from Anglo-Saxon times onwards, especially as an aid to continuity in narrative and dialogue. The OED provides examples from the 9th century to the 19th century, including one from Shakespeare’s King John: “Arthur. Must you with hot Irons, burne out both mine eyes? Hubert. Young boy, I must. Arthur. And will you? Hubert. And I will.” It is also used for other rhetorical purposes, especially to denote surprise
(O John! and you have seen him! And are you really going?—1884 in OED)
and sometimes just to introduce an improvised afterthought
(I’m going to swim. And don’t you dare watch—G. Butler, 1983)
It is, however, poor style to separate short statements into separate sentences when no special effect is needed: I opened the door and I looked into the room (not *I opened the door. And I looked into the room). Combining sentences or starting with in addition or moreover is preferred in formal writing.
And is often omitted for contextual effects of various kinds, especially between sequences of descriptive adjectives which can be separated by commas or simply by spaces
(The teeming jerrybuilt dun-coloured traffic-ridden deafening city—Penelope Lively, 1987)
And all is a well-established tag added to the end of a statement, as in
Isn’t it amazing? He has a Ph.D. and all—J. Shute, 1992
With the nominal meaning “also, besides, in addition”, the use has origins in dialect, as can be seen from the material from many regions given in the English Dialect Dictionary (often written in special ways, e.g., ano', an'-all, an' a'). In many of the examples it seems to lack any perceptible lexical meaning and to be just a rhythmical device to eke out a sentence.
c.800–825, Diarmait, Milan Glosses on the Psalms, published in Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (reprinted 1987, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), edited and with translations by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan, vol. I, pp. 7–483, Ml. 31b23
in bélrai .i. is and atá gním tengad isind huiliu labramar-ni
of speech, i.e. the action of the tongue is in it, in all that we say
c.850-875, Turin Glosses and Scholia on St Mark, published in Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (reprinted 1987, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), edited and with translations by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan, vol. I, pp. 484–94, Tur. 110c
Ba bés leusom do·bertis dá boc leu dochum tempuil, ⁊ no·léicthe indala n‑ái fon díthrub co pecad in popuil, ⁊ do·bertis maldachta foir, ⁊ n⟨o⟩·oircthe didiu and ó popul tar cenn a pecthae ind aile.
It was a custom with them that two he-goats were brought by them to the temple, and one of the two of them was let go to the wilderness with the sin of the people, and curses were put upon him, and thereupon the other was slain there by the people for their sins.
c.800, Würzburg Glosses on the Pauline Epistles, published in Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (reprinted 1987, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), edited and with translations by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan, vol. I, pp. 499–712, Wb. 4a27
Is and didiu for·téit spiritus ar n-énirti-ni in tain bes n-inun accobor lenn .i. la corp et anim et la spirut.
So it is then that the spirit helps our weakness when we have the same desire, to wit, body and soul and spirit.
Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 49