Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Into the Grammar Forest

Grammar can sometimes be a bit dry to teach, but it's such an interesting subject that it should be fun! I'm devising a grammar lecture involving an atmospheric story, introduced by a video. Who do you think the main character in the story should be? I have various ideas, but am interested to know how inter-cultural they are. Does everyone know the character of Little Red Riding Hood, for example? Or is a silent movie heroine more appealing? Or an Agatha Christie-style lady detective? (Yes, they're all female characters - I'm going to play the role!) I've put a poll up on the right, so do take the time to vote, or add a comment below. And of course, we'll put the finished story up on the blog too!


babukutty daniel said...

Can you start a sentence with'because'?It is done above. My high school English teacher taught me that you cannot start a sentence with the word 'because' because 'because' is a conjunction

Andrea Duff said...

My first reaction is that starting a sentence with 'because' would not be correct.

Because it is cloudy and wet in Adelaide today, I have decided to wear a warm jacket and scarfe.

What do others think? Not quite right? It sounds a bit weak or passive in its tone.

Julia Miller said...

I think it's fine grammatically to start a sentence with 'because' if there are two parts to the sentence, as in Andrea's example. If you don't do this, you have a sentence fragment. e.g. 'Because it's raining'. That is fine in speech, but not in academic writing. I did use some fragments in this post (starting sentences with the conjunctions 'and' and 'or'), but that is because the style is chatty and not academic. Style varies a lot, doesn't it?

Linda Bergmann said...

I've always heard that "Never start a sentence with 'because'" is a piece of folklore, invented by teachers in order to help students avoid fragments like the one Julia describes. Actually, I think "because" used to be called a subordinating conjunction--which is different than a coordinating conjunction (and, but, for), but I generally use "subordinator" because it seems clearer to students. Whether to start a sentence with a subordinate clause of any kind should, imo, be seen as a matter of putting old information before new (not my idea--I learned it from Joe Williams at the U. of Chicago, where I went to grad school and from his books on style.