Can I start a sentence with "because" if it comes after a question mark?

Why did I drink? Because I was thirsty.


Why did I drink? because I was thirsty.

I know this style of question has been asked before, however I've been told you should never start a sentence with "because". Yet, if a question mark ends a sentence then how can I continue without capitalizing the "b" in because? In this case, should I have to avoid "because" all together and instead write

Why did I drink? I was thirsty.

  • This was discussed some in the comments here.
    – Laurel
    Dec 30, 2018 at 19:10
  • @Laurel Yes, that was what I was looking for. Thank you!
    – Eugenio Lopez
    Dec 30, 2018 at 19:19
  • 1
    As you say, a question mark ends a sentence, so the next sentence should begin with a capital letter. It does not matter what the first word of that sentence is (bar a few exceptions that are irrelevant here).
    – michael.hor257k
    Dec 30, 2018 at 21:33
  • 1
    It's a myth that you can't start a sentence with because. What's not a myth is that the first word of any sentence should always have a capital letter. (Barring strange occurrences of typography and some other stylistic choices that are commonly frowned upon.) Dec 30, 2018 at 23:43

3 Answers 3


"Because I was thirsty" is not a grammatically complete sentence. However, sentences can sometimes start with "because". The first letter of any sentence should be capitalized, and the first letter of a sentence fragment (such as "because I was thirsty") should be capitalized when it is part of text that otherwise contains sentences.

Example with a sentence fragment:

Why did I drink? Because I was thirsty.

Example with a complete sentence:

Because I was thirsty, I drank.

The rule against starting a sentence with "because" is a style rule, not a grammar rule. Students are told to avoid starting sentences with "because" to improve the quality of their writing, but there is nothing that makes it incorrect.


There's one time when you can follow a question mark without capitalsation. It's when you're using quotation marks and your question comes mid-sentence:

"Will you still feed me when I'm 64?" asked Paul.

And, when using quotation marks, you can also follow a comma with a capitalised word:

Paul asked, "Will you still feed me when I'm 64?"


Starting a sentence with because isn't often correct as it links two clauses.

You could say:

I drank because I was thirsty

That would be correct.

  • This doesn't address the capitalization issue.
    – Tashus
    Jan 3, 2019 at 16:10
  • Daniil. If it isn't "often" correct, then it must be correct sometimes! As Tashus explained. It's purely a matter of style.
    – Matt
    Jan 3, 2019 at 17:05

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