beginning sentence with "because"

rubes1

Senior Member
United States, English
"Because the problems of postwar Iraq included a X, Y, and Z, both types of operations were critical to success in Iraq."

I always assumed you could NOT start a sentence with a conjunction, hence, this sentence would not work in an academic paper. Is this true? What are your opinions please on starting a sentence w/ "because"? What would be your suggestions in place. Perhaps "as" instead of because?

 
  • rubes1

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    True, lol, I thought about that. There are, however, some conjuctions that somehow are okay to start the a sentence with. Ex. "Yet."
     

    LouisaB

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    You're right, 'as a result' is a great substitute, and there will be many places where this is useful - but I don't think you should let the phony grammar police get in the way of what you actually want to express.

    The 'don't start a sentence with because' rule is a way of preventing basic mistakes such as 'I don't want to go to school. Because I don't like my teacher'. It does not apply in advanced English, where the clausal relationship is understood, and all that's happening is a simple inversion. Your first example:
    'Because the problems of post-war Iraq included a x, y and z, both types of operation were critical to success in Iraq' is perfectly correct.
    It is simply an inversion of 'Xyz types of operation were critical to success in Iraq, because Iraq's post-war problems included x,y, and z.'

    Your example happens to be more effective, eliminating the worst of the repetition, and putting the strongest, and most important part of the sentence at the end. There is NOTHING wrong with this grammatically. Do not let yourself be bullied!!!

    LouisaB
     

    Cannister7

    Senior Member
    English, England
    'Since' would work here also, and maybe is better to be used at the start of a sentence.

    When you all talk about using 'as a result' you mean putting in at the beginning of the second clause do you, and losing the 'because' from the beginning? If not, I'm a bit confused how it would work.
     

    mytwolangs

    Senior Member
    English United States
    Yes, if you do not know what word to use, or what phrase, then rewording the whole thing may be a good option.
    Because this sentence is wrong, I will re-word it.
    I will reword this sentence because it is wrong.
     

    viera

    Senior Member
    English/French/Slovak
    'I don't want to go to school. Because I don't like my teacher'.
    I agree with Louisa. The purpose of the 'rule' is to avoid separating a main clause and a subordinate clause into two separate sentences, trying to make the subordinate clause function as a real sentence, as in the above example.

    But there is nothing grammatically wrong with using inversion and putting the subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence, as in Rubes' original example.
     

    keepsakes

    Member
    English/Chinese Canada/China
    'I don't want to go to school. Because I don't like my teacher'.
    I agree with Louisa. The purpose of the 'rule' is to avoid separating a main clause and a subordinate clause into two separate sentences, trying to make the subordinate clause function as a real sentence, as in the above example.

    But there is nothing grammatically wrong with using inversion and putting the subordinate clause at the beginning of the sentence, as in Rubes' original example.
    'I don't want to go to school, because I don't like my teacher'.

    You can start a sentence with because if the clause is followed by another [independant?] clause.

    Because there is another clause after this, I am allowed to start with "because".
     

    the17pointscale

    New Member
    English; USA
    Okay, but once you've started a sentence with because should there be a comma between the dependent clause and independent clause? I've read somewhere that most sentence-starting adverbial dependent clauses should be followed by a comma and that seems natural to me, but my Fowler's Modern English Usage includes the following example:

    "Because of the deterioration of the sugar in the blood it was decided, after consultation, to carry out an exchange blood transfusion."

    Why is there no comma between blood and it was decided?

    -Andrew
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    Why is there no comma between blood and it was decided?
    Probably to avoid a surfeit of commas. The phrase after consultation needs to be set off by commas and inserting another after blood tends to make for a very choppy look. Were that phrase omitted, however, I'd definitely place a comma after blood. :)

    Elisabetta
     

    Matalobo

    New Member
    Spanish
    Hello to everybody. This is my first time in this forum and I think it´s very interesting to improve our English.
    Could I use in this context "as consequence of" instead of "because"

    Thanks a lot
     

    the17pointscale

    New Member
    English; USA
    Misfit, I agree, but I find it difficult to argue with Fowler. English is full of exceptions, and maybe this is yet another one. Perhaps Elisabetta is correct, and they're just trying to avoid a comma party.

    Matalobo, I think that as a consequence of would work in this context, but it's a bit more wordy. Personally, I'd go for the more concise because.

    -Andrew
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Welcome, Matalobo,

    Using as a consequence [result] of instead of because would require additional changes to the sentence.

    If the phrase were simply the problems of postwar Iraq, the answer would be yes. However, the phrase is the problems of postwar Iraq included X, Y, and Z, and included cannot be described as a consequence or a result.

    Edit: the phrase could be changed to As a consequence/result of the problems of postwar Iraq including X, Y, and Z, but that does not have the same meaning as the original.
     

    Matalobo

    New Member
    Spanish
    Welcome, Matalobo,

    Using as a consequence [result] of instead of because would require additional changes to the sentence.

    If the phrase were simply the problems of postwar Iraq, the answer would be yes. However, the phrase is the problems of postwar Iraq included X, Y, and Z, and included cannot be described as a consequence or a result.

    Edit: the phrase could be changed to As a consequence/result of the problems of postwar Iraq including X, Y, and Z, but that does not have the same meaning as the original.

    Hello Kelly,

    Thank you for your opinion,
     

    | ) ª | } U £ £ ª

    New Member
    Mexican Spanish
    Hello,

    I believe that you can, nowadays, start a sentence with "Because". It is not grammatically incorrect. Furthermore, many up to date writings (i.e. law books and manuals) use it.

    I hope this helps.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Here is Kenneth G. Wilson's take on the matter, from the entry "because, subord. conj." in The Columbia Guide to Standard American English:

    Some commentators have said that because ought not to begin a sentence, but it occurs there regularly in the Semiformal Edited English of our magazines and newspapers, as well as almost everywhere in our conversation: Because the rent was overdue, the landlord evicted our family.
    I take this to mean that such a use of because in an academic paper would be considered unacceptable.
     

    | ) ª | } U £ £ ª

    New Member
    Mexican Spanish
    Interesting fact. However, I believe that language evolves at a fast pace; and my comment was aimed to this particular point. I believe that this situation (starting a sentence with "because") is becoming more accepted with time and usage.

    Thanks for the information. I am checking it out right now. :)
     

    YuMaNuMa

    Member
    Australian English
    In exams or academic papers, I would use an ellipsis before the conjunction but using a conjunction in the beginning of a sentence would be my last option anyway.
     

    | ) ª | } U £ £ ª

    New Member
    Mexican Spanish
    I hear you. Even though it is accepted in some types of writings, you should always be cautious when using it. It is always wise to abide by the requirements or rules established by some organizations, schools, programs, courses, etc.

    Cheers!
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I take this to mean that such a use of because in an academic paper would be considered unacceptable.
    See Posts 6, 9 and 11 above. Starting a sentence with a subordinate clause beginning with because is not ungrammatical, and is perfectly acceptable in academic settings.
     
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