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

Why did I drink? Because I was thirsty.

or

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.

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  • This was discussed some in the comments here. – Laurel Dec 30 '18 at 19:10
  • @Laurel Yes, that was what I was looking for. Thank you! – Eugenio Lopez Dec 30 '18 at 19:19
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    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 '18 at 21:33
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    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.) – Jason Bassford Dec 30 '18 at 23:43
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"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.

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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?"

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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.

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  • This doesn't address the capitalization issue. – Tashus Jan 3 '19 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 '19 at 17:05

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