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A co-teacher and I are teaching in a 7th gr. classroom on the topic of subordinating conjunctions. A student stated today that last year her teacher said, "you should never begin sentences with because." The co-teacher and I believe differently. What is/are the general rule(s) pertaining to the word "because?"
New Member01
After a brief google search I found this:
«A favorite rule of schoolteachers (but curiously absent from the tradition of usage commentary) is that a sentence must not begin with because. Sometimes, however, because is perfectly appropriate as the opening word of a sentence, as in the beginning of one of Emily Dickinson's best-known poems: "Because I could not stop for Death/He kindly stopped for me." In fact, sentences beginning with because are quite common in written English.»

(TheFreeDictionary.com)
Contributing Member1,848
Lahlah, welcome to the forums.

I think that it's an over-generalization to the "rule" of using a full sentence to answer a question.

Why was John late?

Because he stopped to help a lady paint her fence vs John was late because he stopped to help a lady paint her fence.

Even in formal writing, a sentence can start with Because as long as it's recognized as a dependent clause: Because John stopped to help a lady paint her fence, he was late getting home.
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Welcome to English Forums!

I think Grammar Geek hit the nail on the head (although I thought John stopped to help the lady paint her face). Emotion: smile

What you should not have is really a non-sentence, that is a sentence fragment, that starts with a because clause and never introduces a main clause to go with it.

-- Why didn't you finish your spinach?
-- Because I don't like it.
<< This is the sort of thing that is frowned upon. It's fine in ordinary conversation, but not in a paper for classwork.

Nevertheless, for stylistic reasons, you will probably find that even this construction is used by some authors!

CJ
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Anonymous:
can i start a sentence with the cojunction because?
Read the prior posts in the this thread.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Retired Moderator: A moderator who has retired.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
Anonymous:
Because there was no more room in the hotel, we had to spend the night elsewhere.
Anonymous:
A common way of starting a sentence with because is, for example:

Be cause it was cold outside, I put on my jacket.

So yes, as long as the sentence makes sense.

i.e., this doesn't make sense: Because it was raining.

Well what about it was raining?
Anonymous:
good
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