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English is a dynamic language like no other. Because it is changing everyday.

That was a grammatically incorrect sentence. Which one? The second one. Why? That is what this post is about.

Let me explain. In grammar we have what are called clauses. A clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition. Now clauses can be independent and dependent. An independent clause is a set of words that make a valid sentence. When I say, “Andy sent flowers to Brenda,” I make a complete sentence because it has a subject, a verb and in this case, an object.

On the other hand, a dependent clause is a group of words that do not make a valid sentence on its own. Typically such sentences begin with conjunctions or connecting words like “Because,” “Although” and “When”. So when Stevie B says “Because I love you” he is essentially saying an incorrect sentence because it does not have a subject and a verb, which is all a sentence needs. His sentence starts with a subordinating conjunction, making it a dependent clause, and that means that he needs to put in an independent clause to make it complete and correct. Oh, and a comma combines the two.

So, the following two sentences are fragments, hence incorrect:

Because it was raining.
Because I left the roast in the oven for too long.

Now follow these with an independent clause and the sentences become complete and correct:

Because it was raining, we decided to call off the picnic
Because I left the roast in the oven for too long, it was overcooked and inedible.

In school we were taught that it is incorrect to begin a sentence with Because. The clause was not taught, it was just a blanket ban on beginning with a conjunction. I believed that happened because the teachers were trying to discourage us from writing incomplete fragments. But, the fact remains that it is incorrect to say that your sentence is wrong only because it begins with a “Because”. Just as long as you follow it up with an independent clause to complete the thought, you are in business!

Because they say so!

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