Can You Start a Sentence With “For”?

Starting a sentence with the conjunction "For" has often been a subject of debate among grammar enthusiasts. While some argue that it's grammatically incorrect, others believe that it can be used under specific circumstances. This article will delve into this topic, discussing the correct usage of "For" at the beginning of a sentence, and debunking some misconceptions.

The Role of "For" in a Sentence

The word "For" is primarily used as a coordinating conjunction, linking words, phrases, or clauses of equal rank. It can also function as a preposition, indicating the purpose or reason for something. As a conjunction, "For" is used to express cause and effect or reason. Its usage is somewhat similar to "because," but it is more formal and less common.

Instances Where Starting With "For" Works Well

Starting a sentence with "For" can work effectively in certain cases. It is generally used to provide an explanation or a reason for the preceding statement. It is especially common in literary and biblical contexts, where more formal language is used.

Sentence Explanation
For it was the middle of winter, the trees were bare. Here, "For" is used to explain why the trees were bare.
For I am the king, I must lead by example. In this case, "For" is used to give a reason for the speaker's actions.
For the sun had set, the room was dark. "For" is used here to explain why the room was dark.
For he was very tired, he went to bed early. Here, "For" is used to provide the reason for going to bed early.
For they were in love, they decided to marry. In this case, "For" is used to justify the decision to marry.

Instances Where Caution is Needed

While "For" can be used to start a sentence, it should be used judiciously. Starting sentences with "For" can make the text sound overly formal or old-fashioned. It can also potentially confuse readers if it is not clear what the "For" is referring to.

Sentence Explanation
For the cake was sweet. This sentence can be confusing without a preceding statement to which it refers.
For I must go now. This usage sounds overly formal and could be clarified.
For it is raining. This sentence could be improved by adding more context.
For the dog is barking. Without a previous statement, this sentence is confusing.
For the house is big. This sentence is awkward as it doesn't provide any reason or explanation.

Tips for Using "For" at the Beginning of a Sentence

While there are no hard and fast rules, here are some guidelines to follow. Use "For" at the beginning of a sentence when you want to provide a reason or explanation for a previous statement. It's best to avoid using "For" to start a sentence in informal writing or conversation.

  • Do use "For" to start a sentence when writing in a formal or literary context.
  • Do not overuse "For" at the start of sentences as it can make your text sound old-fashioned.
  • Be sure that the context or preceding statement is clear when using "For" to start a sentence.

Common Misconceptions and Myths

There are a few common misconceptions associated with starting sentences with "For".

  • Myth: It's always incorrect to start a sentence with "For".
    • Fact: While it may not be common in everyday speech or informal writing, it is grammatically correct and often used in formal or literary contexts.
  • Myth: Starting a sentence with "For" makes the sentence incomplete.
    • Fact: A sentence starting with "For" can be complete, as long as it provides a clear reason or explanation for a preceding statement.


Starting a sentence with "For" is grammatically correct, though it is less common in everyday language and more often seen in formal or literary contexts. It is important to use it judiciously and ensure that it provides a clear reason or explanation for a preceding statement. Remember, balance and clarity are key when using "For" to start sentences.

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