Can You Start a Sentence with Because?

I hear this question a lot: “Teacher, can I start a sentence with because?” The answer is yes, but there are rules you should follow. Let me explain.

Because is a subordinating conjunction. Subordinating conjunctions are responsible for beginning dependent clauses. Dependent clauses are not complete sentences. They must be connected to independent clauses in the same sentence. If I walk up to you and say, “Because I love it,” you will be very confused. I just said an incomplete sentence, right? It was incomplete because it didn’t have an independent clause. If I say, “I eat chocolate every day because I love it,” that makes more sense. Let’s look at the sentence more closely.

I eat chocolate every day because I love it.

Independent Clause       Dependent Clause

Here we see which part of the sentence is independent and which part is dependent. Again, the dependent clause MUST be in the same sentence as an independent clause. It cannot stand alone. Also, notice that there is NO COMMA in this sentence. When the independent clause comes first, we don’t need a comma before the dependent clause.

However, we can reverse the sentence. We can write the dependent clause first and the independent clause second. When we do that, we write a comma between the two clauses.

Because I love it, I eat chocolate every day.

Dependent Clause         Independent Clause

The two things you must not do are:

  1. Write a comma before because.
    no comma before because
  2. Put a period after the independent clause and leave the dependent clause alone in a new sentence.
    Don't separate dependent clauses from their independent clauses.

 

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