I'm afflicted with one of those online "Learn English" things that I have to wade through as a prerequisite for something else.

I report lots of errors, but this one I'm not sure of. I intially thought it wasn't a proper sentence, but it would pass in everyday spoken language if the sentence before was something like "Why were taxpayers so grumpy?"

Because the financial crisis continued, even though governments tried to avoid it.

So is this a valid sentence or not?

  • 3
    Just remove "because". – Snoop Mar 27 '16 at 1:18
  • Starting sentences with prepositions such as 'because' or 'and' etc. don't invalidate a sentence; it's just frowned upon since they really should go in the middle of a sentence and so it breaks up the ease of reading. However in answering any question, it is fine to answer with a sentence beginning with a preposition as it provides more context. The best way to word your answer, however, would be to say: "The taxpayers were so grumpy because the financial crisis continued...." However of course in spoken language that would be completely impractical. – Inazuma Mar 27 '16 at 1:28
  • @Inazuma I would call these conjunctions, not prepositions. Beginning a sentence with a conjunction is a gray area, but beginning a sentence with a preposition is always perfectly grammatical. – Anonym Mar 27 '16 at 2:01
  • @Anonym Ah yes, sorry, that's what I meant! – Inazuma Mar 27 '16 at 2:03
  • Inazuma & Anonym thanks. I'll take it as a slightly grey "yes". – Garrytre Mar 27 '16 at 22:06

Your sample sentence is 'valid' as an elliptical construction, answer ellipsis in particular.

First, a note about ellipsis:

In linguistics, ellipsis (from the Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission") or elliptical construction refers to the omission from a clause of one or more words that are nevertheless understood in the context of the remaining elements. - wikipedia

Now about answer ellipsis:

Answer ellipsis associated with question-answer pairs involves ellipsis. The question focuses an unknown piece of information, often using an interrogative word (e.g. who, what, when, etc.). The corresponding answer provides the missing information and in so doing, the redundant information that appeared in the question is elided .... - wikipedia

Here's an example cited in the article that has a similar construction to your sample question:

Q: Why has the campaign been so crazy?
A: (The campaign has been so crazy) Due to the personalities. (- Answer fragment)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.