(Note: This post was originally titled "I have a problem with my but" -- I was a little worried about what Google would bring. Even now, I am a bit concerned.)
Last week, I asked if anyone had experience with AutoCrit or any other editing software. I wanted a program that would flag if I had repeated words or phrases and similar glitches because, frankly, after eight drafts, I am just a tad bit overfamiliar with my manuscript. And overfamiliarity breeds typos.
I signed up for AutoCrit ($47 for a 1 year membership) and ran a few chapters through. With the wizard, you cut and paste a single chapter in (or up to 5000 words at a time) and select the report you want to run. I selected the report on overused words (-ly adverbs, just, that, conjunctive phrases, was construction and so on) on one chapter and noticed the conjunctive beginning box was checked. When I looked through the highlighted, I found a whole bunch of buts. I'd never noticed this glitch in my writing before so I went back to my manuscript and highlighted every but in there.
At first I wasn't sure whether it was a problem, so I went to Strunk and White and asked them. As usual, they sniffed down their noses and said "The too frequent use of but as a conjunction leads to the fault (of) loose sentences. Loose sentences are common in easy, unstudied writing. The danger is that there may be too many of them."
S**t, if you'll pardon the pun.
I am now much better friends with yet, however, although, and except.
But that's OK.