And. Retain and before the last item in a series, even though that last item consists of two words joined by and.
- We need to increase our expense budgets for advertising, staff training, and research and development.
(NOT: We need to increase our expense budgets for advertising, staff training, research and development.)
Beginning a sentence with and or some other coordinating conjunction (but, or, or nor) can be an effective means–if not overused–of giving special attention to the thought that follows the conjunction. No comma should follow the conjunction at the start of a new sentence unless a parenthetical element occurs at that point.
- Last Friday George promised to submit the market analysis this Monday. And then he took off on a two-week vacation.
- Tell him to return to the office at once. Or else.
BUT: George called this morning from Lake Tahoe to say that the report was undergoing some last-minute changes and would be on my desk by 11 a.m. And, to my delight, it was!
NOTE: Each of the sentences above illustrates how this device can be effectively used. However, these sentences also illustrate, when taken as a whole, how quickly the overuse of this device dissipates its effectiveness.
And etc. Never use and before etc.
And/or. Try to avoid this legalistic term in ordinary writing.
Source: The Gregg Reference Manual.