Have you asked yourself, can you start a sentence with because? The answer, like many answers to grammar questions in the English language, is that it depends.
Many grammar teachers will teach their students that they cannot begin a sentence with because due to the fact that the subordinating conjunction starts a dependent clause. Yet many sentences do start with this word, so can you start a sentence with because?
Sometimes, a sentence needs to start with because. This is particularly true with complex sentences. Sometimes, however, starting a sentence with because makes an incomplete sentence.
You must be able to tell the difference in order to use these words correctly.
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Can You Start a Sentence with Because? Yes, but Only Sometimes
It is possible to start a sentence with because or another subordinating conjunction, but you have to do so carefully to ensure you are writing a complete sentence.
Many school teachers and grammar books will warn against starting a sentence with because, especially in elementary school. This is due to the high chance that an inexperienced writer will do so incorrectly, and this creates an incomplete sentence.
However, it is possible to use the word correctly if you know what you're doing.
What Part of Speech is Because?
Before looking at the right uses of because first consider what part of speech it is. Typically it can fall into one of two categories: conjunction or a preposition.
Because as a Conjunction
Traditionally, because was considered subordinating conjunction, which means it is a connecting word that connects a dependent clause to the rest of the sentence. Here is an example:
- Johnathan missed his bus because he stepped in gum.
“Because he stepped in gum” is an idea tied tightly to the main clause “he missed his bus,” so the two are connected.
Because as a Preposition
Because can also be used as a preposition, as in this second sentence:
- I let him have his say, even though I disagreed, because free speech.
This sentence is informal and sarcastic, but according to quickanddirtytips.com it is a proper use of the word for spoken English. This use is called a preposition, and “because free speech” is a prepositional phrase. However, this prepositional use does not start a sentence, but rather comes in the middle of a sentence.
Starting a Dependent Clause with Because
In most instances, you can use because to start a sentence when you start the sentence with a dependent clause. Connect it to the independent clause using a comma, and you will have a complete sentence. For example:
- Because we exercised hard, we were very hungry at dinner time.
However, if you use because at the beginning of a sentence and do not connect it to an independent clause, it is a sentence fragment. For example:
- Because we exercised hard.
This is a sentence fragment because it does not create a complete thought.
Because Starting Sentences in Conversational Language
The reason why this grammar rule is so often misunderstood is because using because at the start of a sentence is common in conversational language. When answering someone's question, a lot of people will say “because” and finish the answer. For example:
- Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the farm was on the other side.
In informal writing, such as social media posts, blogging or writing dialogue, this is considered proper. However, the second sentence is technically a fragment, and you should not use the subordinate clause as a standalone sentence like this in formal writing.
A Final Word on Can You Start a Sentence with Because?
So can you start a sentence with because, or is that improper grammar? In formal writing, sentences can start with because when they start with a dependent clause but still complete the thought.
In informal and spoken writing, answers to questions can start with because, even if they are not connected to a main idea.
However, this does create a sentence fragment. Fragments are allowed in these less formal setting, so don't be afraid to use because in this way.
FAQs About Can You Start a Sentence with Because
Is it ok to start a sentence with because?
Yes, if because starts a dependent clause, you can use it to open a sentence, as long as you finish the idea and make a complete sentence.
Can you start a sentence with “because of this?”
Yes, a sentence that reads, “Because of this ad, many people were deceived into buying the faulty product.” you have a complete sentence that starts with “because of this.”