be·​cause | \ bi-ˈkȯz How to pronounce because (audio) , -ˈkəz, -ˈkȯs, bē- How to pronounce because (audio) \

Definition of because

1 : for the reason that : since rested because he was tired
2 : the fact that : that the reason I haven't been fired is because my boss hasn't got round to it yet— E. B. White

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Can you begin a sentence with because? Yes, and the reason is because . . .

Because has been the subject of a number of quibbles relating to its grammar and usage. Two of the more common ones are the notion that a sentence should never begin with because and the idea that the phrase “the reason is because” is somehow improper.

Although the construction appears to be more common in magazine and newspaper writing than in formal prose, beginning a sentence with because is both acceptable and widespread.

The prohibition against “the reason is because” is rooted partly in the idea that it is redundant (that is, akin to writing “the reason is for the reason that”). However, because may have the meaning “that” when it introduces a clause that functions as a noun in a sentence ("What is the reason for your delay?" "It is because my car broke down."). There is considerable evidence of this sort of use among some of our language’s most celebrated writers going back at least as far as the 16th century.

Examples of because in a Sentence

I ran because I was afraid. “Why did you do it?” “Because she told me to.”

First Known Use of because

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for because

Middle English because that, because, from by cause that

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Time Traveler for because

Time Traveler

The first known use of because was in the 14th century

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because of

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Cite this Entry

“Because.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for because



English Language Learners Definition of because

: for the reason that


be·​cause | \ bi-ˈkȯz How to pronounce because (audio) , -ˈkəz \

Kids Definition of because

: for the reason that I ran because I was scared.
because of
: for the reason of The game was canceled because of rain.

More from Merriam-Webster on because

Nglish: Translation of because for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of because for Arabic Speakers


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