Grammar rules exist so that people can understand what you say and what you write. That being said, the way we speak in casual conversation isn’t always grammatically correct.
We often speak in incomplete sentences, sentence fragments and have no issue starting a sentence with words that aren’t typically technically correct to begin a sentence with. Unless you are a grammar guru, it is highly probable that you break a rule now and then. So this begs the question: Can you start a sentence with “because”?
The very simple answer to that is: Yes, you can.
This article will not only explain the answer to that question but will also explain some of the rules that come with writing. If you are a writer and have trouble remembering some of the rules, there are many manuals and guides available. They are so widely used, and some are so well-loved and respected that they have made the New York Times Bestseller List.
What is a Complete Sentence?
You can’t just string a bunch of words together and call it a complete sentence. We speak in incomplete sentences all of the time, but that’s not the way you’re supposed to write (unless you are writing dialogue).
A complete sentence consists of three things: a subject, a verb, and a complete thought.
A subject is a noun that the sentence is about. A verb is an action. You can have both of those things but still not have a complete sentence. The sentence still has to convey a complete thought.
I went to the library.
My dog, Kojak, walks well on his leash.
Kaley is with David, scuba diving.
What is a Sentence Fragment?
A sentence fragment is any grouping of words that is not a complete sentence. It is also known as an incomplete sentence because it is missing at least one of the elements needed: subject, verb, and complete thought.
Writing complete sentences is important in grammar because fragmented sentences are often difficult to understand. A fragmented sentence leaves information out that a reader needs to relate to and understand the text fully. You usually only see fragmented sentences in the English language when it is a part of dialogue or the piece is informal writing.
Example of a sentence without a subject:
Went to the library.
In the above sentence, we don’t know who went to the library. Therefore, it is a fragmented sentence.
Example of a sentence without a verb:
My dog Kojak.
In the above sentence, there is no verb. Therefore, it is not a proper sentence.
Example of a sentence without a verb:
With David scuba diving.
In the above sentence, there is no complete thought. Therefore, it is not correct grammar.
What is a Clause?
We aren’t talking about the bearded man with reindeer who visits on Christmas Eve. A clause is a group of words that has a subject and a predicate (verb). You may hear different terms for different types of clauses. This article will define what each means, as well as the two clause rule for a dependent clause.
Also known as a main clause, it can stand on its own. It’s also known as a “simple sentence.”
He is excited.
In the above sentence, there are only three words, and it makes up a simple sentence. It can stand on its own, or it can become a clause. In this case, it would be the main clause of the sentence because it can stand on its own, and it would be joined by another clause. When there are two clauses together in a sentence, it goes from a simple sentence to a complex sentence.
We will continue to use the example above to build off of to create a complex sentence with two clauses. Remember that “He is excited” will serve as the main clause in that endeavor.
A dependent clause is a group of words that cannot stand on its own. Instead, it depends on the main clause to be able to exist without breaking any grammar rules. It is the second clause in a complex sentence and is also known as a subordinate clause.
When you put the dependent clause and the main clause together using a conjunction, the two clauses become a complex sentence.
What is a Conjunction?
A conjunction is a word that links two clauses together. They are commonly called “linking words.” There are several types of conjunctions, but what they all have in common is that they work to link two parts of a complex sentence.
Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunction
When one of these linking words is coordinating, it is linking two main clauses in which each could be a stand-alone sentence and perfectly acceptable and doesn’t break any grammar rules. They are two complete sentences. They simply sound better and flow more nicely when joined or “linked” by a conjunction.
A subordinate conjunction is a word that links the first complete sentence with a second sentence that is dependent upon the first. The second sentence is an incomplete sentence or subordinate clause, and it requires the main clause to be linked to it in the same sentence for it to be “correct” English. The main clause is often separated by the second clause with a comma.
Can You Start a Sentence with Because?
We’ve gone over all of the parts of speech needed to define and make sense of what correct and acceptable sentence looks like in grammar. We have provided examples along the way. Now for the answer.
“Because” is actually a conjunction, and it is used most of the time by writers to link two simple sentences. However, you can have sentences starting with “because.” So the simple answer is: yes.
Beginning a sentence with the word isn’t wrong, but many writers avoid starting a sentence with this word anyway. It isn’t incorrect, but it’s typically sandwiched in the middle of a sentence and separated with a comma rather than at the beginning of a sentence, so it has the tendency to look or seem improper or wrong.
The truth is that it doesn’t matter where the word goes. The clauses just have to make sense and express a whole thought. That’s the big rule regarding the word “because.” I will now include a couple of examples to show you two ways that the word “because” can be used in a sentence, and neither is incorrect.
Delilah didn’t finish her homework last night, because of Zac’s snoring.
Because Zac was snoring, Delilah didn’t finish her homework last night.
Both of the above examples make the same exact point. Neither are incorrect, and both can be included in anything you’re writing, as long as it fits into the context.
In the first example, you see the word “because” between two clauses, separated by a comma. In the second example, you see it at the beginning of the sentence, but it still makes the same point as the first sentence. Either of these sentences could be published as they are.
We have come a long way and had quite the English lesson to get the answers we were looking for, but sometimes answering questions, for writers, anyway, means that we have to start at the beginning and work our way to the answers we’re seeking.
Starting a sentence with “because” is fine. Please note that doing it too often can make the text seem clunky. However, beginning a sentence every now and then with the word is correct grammar and can be done in your writing.
In fact, starting sentences with any conjunction is fine. A sentence starting with a conjunction still has to act as the glue that holds two clauses together to form a whole thought. As long as that rule is not being broken, the sentence is usually technically correct, especially when part of the sentence is a subordinate clause.
Can You Start a Sentence with For?
Sentences containing “for” may start with “for.” Consider this example: I have been into poem writing, for it gives me a form of solitude that I crave. This example can be reframed this way: For it gives me a form of solitude that I crave, I have been into poem writing. Another example is I have been like this for quite a long time, shifting to For quite a long time, I have been like this.
In the first example, “for” is a coordinating conjunction, whereas “for” acts as a preposition in the second example. In either function, “for” can be used at the beginning of the sentence.
Can You Start a Sentence with Just?
You can start a sentence with “just” if the purpose is to emphasize something. For instance, Just be happy for Emma. Another example is Just a few items are on sale.
In the first example, “just” implies that being happy for Emma is the best choice. In the second example, “just” helps highlight the limited number of items on sale.
Can You Start a Sentence with Also?
Starting a sentence with “also” is fine. It connects a sentence with the sentence that follows it. For example, She specializes in literature. Also, she studies statistics during weekends. In addition, you can use “also” when you are inverting sentences. Take a look at this example: Extra clothes are also necessary when commuting being inverted to Also necessary when commuting are extra clothes.
Beginning a sentence with “also” is correct. However, overusing it may appear informal for some readers since there are many more formal alternatives, such as “furthermore” and “in addition.” It is important to note that if a written text is loaded with “also” at the beginning of each sentence, it might begin to sound like a collection of random statements.
Can You Start a Sentence with Then?
You can start a sentence with “then.” “Then” at the sentence beginning is used to introduce a next step, another item in a series, or a resulting condition. For example, Prepare your things now. Then, you can come to grandma’s house afterward. Another one is: Shane studied for two weeks for an upcoming qualifying exam. Then, she completely aced it.
It should be stated that when writing dialogue, the rules of writing can basically be thrown right out the window. People don’t often speak “properly.” We use slang, and we use fragments rather than entire thoughts. We start a sentence with any word we want to. We end a sentence incorrectly. It’s simply the way that people speak.
When you write dialogue, anyone can speak any way that seems normal and believable for the character and setting. It can be incorrect grammar. It would be very odd if a slang-speaking teenager in your story suddenly decided to obey every rule of grammar simply because the writer decided that they didn’t want to use incorrect speech.