Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Another English Language Myth...
THE MYTH – Always place a comma before the word <em>because</em> 

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The following explanation describes a mistake that is often made by English learners,
as well as a few native English speakers.

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English learners often believe that a comma is needed before the conjunction because.
That’s a myth.
A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea.

<em>Because </em>is one of several words and phrases used to introduce a “clause of purpose.” 

<em>Because </em>puts more emphasis on the reason, and most often introduces new information which is not known to the reader or listener.

A clause beginning with <em>because </em>answers the question “Why?” and that clause is automatically subordinate to (dependent on) an independent clause.

A subordinate clause—also called a dependent clause—will often begin with a subordinate conjunction and will contain both a subject and a verb. 
A subordinate/dependent clause will not form a complete sentence.
 It will instead make a reader want additional information to finish the thought.


The General Rule – When to use a comma before “Because”

There should generally be no comma between an independent clause and the subordinate clause when the independent clause comes first.

However, if the subordinate/dependent clause is placed before the independent clause, i.e., if the <em>because </em>clause comes at the beginning of the sentence, the <em>because </em>clause should be followed by a comma.

INCORRECT: Michael went to the forest, because he loves walking among the trees.
CORRECT: Michael went to the forest because he loves walking among the trees.
CORRECT: Because he loves walking among the trees, Michael went to the forest.


INCORRECT: Mom went on a shopping spree, because I told her I was having a baby boy.
CORRECT: Mom went on a shopping spree because I told her I was having a baby boy.
CORRECT: Because I told her I was having a baby boy, Mom went on a shopping spree.


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Jun 22, 2020 12:32 PM
Comments · 12
Isn't there a difference between whether or not to put a comma before "because", though?

1. Why did Mom go on a shopping spree? Mom went on a shopping spree because I told her I was having a baby boy.

2. Where did Mom go? Mom went on a shopping spree, because I told her I was having a baby boy.

The comma functions as a parenthetical to give extra information. Omitting it in the second example seems wrong to me.
June 22, 2020
Thanks to everyone who responded:

Abdalá
Fatemeh
NADA (yes - similar to the if clause rules)
Kalina
John
Mantaty
June 23, 2020
Abdalá...

Very often, the information I post does not include all possibilities/exceptions.
I try post post the information that applies to 80 or 90% of the possible uses/rules.

Yes, you are right. There are a few exceptions where the use of a comma before the word <em>because</em> is helpful or perhaps even necessary for the sake of clarity.
Here's one exception:

Exception – using a comma for clarity

If a sentence will be ambiguous/confusing without a comma before because, it is better to insert one and avoid misleading your reader. The most problematic sentences containing because are often those that begin with a negative statement. 

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The source of this posting (including more exception examples)



June 22, 2020
Abdalá...

I didn't really clarify anything, except to confirm the exception to the main rule, which is the exception that you correctly pointed out.
June 22, 2020
Thank you for clarifying, Richard.
June 22, 2020
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Richard-Business Eng
Language Skills
English, French
Learning Language