Can You Start a Sentence with "Because"?

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Q: My grammar school teachers always told me that it was wrong to start a sentence with the word “because,” but I commonly see it in books today. What’s the rule?—Roger Allen

A: Grammar teachers across the U.S., please don’t hate me, as I’m about to expose the awful truth you’ve been trying to hide for years: It’s not poor grammar to start a sentence with “because.” That’s right, there’s no rule or law in grammar books that denies you the right to start a sentence with this conjunction. A sentence such as, Because I needed money, I sold my body to science, is not only grammatically correct, it’s also more effective than if it were the other way around (I sold my body to science because I needed the money).

So why do teachers parade this nonexistent rule to our youth? They want to prevent the future scholars from writing in fragments, and kids have a tendency to write incomplete sentences like Because I can or Because he’s smelly. Instead of telling kids that they can’t start a sentence with “because,” it’d be more proper to make them complete their sentences. But I know how difficult it is to get kids to complete anything.

Brian A. Klems is the online community editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwmedia.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line.

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