Just because conjunctions are used to link or coordinate clauses and sentences doesn’t mean that they can’t start a sentence.
A lot of people, including a couple of writers that I know, don’t know they can.
I hear people ask whether it is okay to have “conjunctions” at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph.
The “because myth” is one of the most prevalent conjunction myths they haven’t figured out.
“Can I start a sentence with because?”
The answer is, yes and no.
It is perfectly OK to start your sentence with “because,” but not always. There are a couple of instances in which using “because” as a sentence starter is almost forbidden.
But that is also why I wrote this article. I had to tell you of a few exceptions—when it is appropriate to start a sentence using “because” and when it is not.
Figuring Out the Word “Because”
The word “because” is called a conjunction for a reason. A conjunction links words or groups of words in a sentence.
Hence the word “because” usually connects two clauses — a subordinate clause and the main clause.
The name ‘subordinate’ comes in because that clause is subordinate to the main clause. In this case, “Because” introduces the subordinate clause in the sentence.
That’s why a lot of people say that you cannot start a sentence with “because” because they expect “because” to come after the main clause in your sentence.
Although that is true, there are two exceptions, and I have discussed them in the section after the next one.
Why is “because” an important word?
Humans are a very inquisitive species, and we always want to know things and why they are so.
The word “because” gives the key to the question “why.” Giving a reason makes a difference when we are trying to sway opinion or evoke change.
With the provision of reasons, we often find it hard to stimulate change because the reasons promise something different or offer new insight into conventional practices.
By simply using the word “because,” you give the audience a reason to do something, even if what follows after doesn’t make that much sense, the likelihood of achieving the writer’s purpose and getting what you want is higher.
Starting a sentence with because
Let us do a bit of myth-busting here. Myth: you cannot start a sentence with the word “because.”
Maybe it was your teacher who told you that, were they wrong? No. They have—probably—seen it abused over a thousand times and didn’t want you to do the same.
Or they are simply too conservative with grammar.
There is some truth in that myth, but then there also are a couple of exceptions. Below are two scenarios in which you are ‘allowed’ to start a sentence with the word “because:”
1. A sentence that starts with “because” needs two parts, which are separated by a comma
Since “because” is a subordinate conjunction that is usually used to connect two clauses, it does not exist without the main clause.
Therefore, when you start a sentence with “because,” both the subordinate and main clauses have to be available in the complete sentence.
For example, you can write sentences that start with “because” just like the two below:
A. Because they were soaked and tired, the landlord offered them a place to sleep.
(This is the same as “the landlord offered them a place to sleep because they were soaked and tired.”)
B. Because the football league was in the offseason, he had no new matches to analyze.
(This is the same as “because the football league was in the offseason, he had no new matches to analyze.”)
In these examples, you can see that no grammar rule has been tampered with. However, since the main clause comes last in these sentences, we need a comma.
If you don’t put a comma before the main clause, or use some other punctuation mark, you are probably breaking the rules.
If you use a period, then you are splitting the clauses into two parts. This means that the subordinate is on its own and that is not grammatically correct.
Because they were soaked and tired. The landlord offered them a place to sleep.
This isn’t correct. The main clause is absent in the first part and because of that, it is just a sentence fragment.
2. Conversation language
As the second and last excerption, you might also start a sentence with because in conversational language.
In conversational English, you are allowed to use fragmented sentences as long as they make sense.
In this case, you don’t have to have the two clauses start a sentence with “because.” You could be answering a query that has “why” in it—and by using “because,” you are going straight to the point.
If someone asks, “Why are you saving some money?”
You could say, “Because we need some money for emergencies.”
That answer is still an incomplete question; however, conversational English doesn’t have to follow all the technical stuff of written English. Plus, if you’re writing a fictional story, using a sentence fragment such as this would help you speed up dialogue.
I don’t think it’s always important or good to have shorter dialogue, but in shorter fiction such as short stories, the word count counts.
However, your social media authors and writers tend to go beyond these two exceptions, and with no one to police them, who can blame them?
After all, we converse when we post on social media, aren’t we?
Conclusion on Starting a Sentence with the Word “Because”
Having read the post up to this point you now know that it isn’t entirely true that it is taboo to start a sentence with the word “because.”
A lot of books, especially in the fiction category, use “because” to start when there is a “why question” that a character needs to answer.
Are they breaking any grammar rules? Maybe. But it is conversational language and no grammarian is going to freak out over that.
The two distinct scenarios that I have outlined are the only acceptable ways of using “because” to start a sentence. If anyone says you can’t start a sentence with “because,” ask them “why not?”
They’ll probably start their answer with something like “Because it is a….”
Say, “Gotcha!” before you go on to school them about the two distinct but completely acceptable ways of starting a sentence with “because.”