Prepositions like “for” have special rules, making them difficult to use in certain parts of a sentence. Starting a sentence with for is one such example, where many people believe it’s impossible. This article will explain how you can do it and why you should.
Can You Start A Sentence With “For”?
You can use “for” at the start of a sentence when it’s part of a clause and related to saying “since” or “because.” Some examples of using “for” at the start of the sentence include “for example,” “for some time,” “for this reason,” and “for what it’s worth.”
The word “for” alone isn’t correct at the start of a sentence unless we include the rest of the clause that makes it palatable. Usually, if we start a sentence with only “for,” it would be better to include a comma with the previous sentence rather than a period.
- He was a powerful man. For he was rich and happy.
It would be better to avoid this and use a comma instead.
- He was a powerful man, for he was rich and happy.
What Does “For” Mean At The Beginning Of A Sentence?
At the beginning of a sentence, “for” means “since” or “because.” We mostly use it when we want to talk about a time frame or how long something has taken or when we want to include some examples that help explain the previous segment.
The main ways we can use “for” at the beginning of a sentence include:
- For example: Showing an example from a previous sentence.
- For now: Relating to “since” and how long of a time frame we’re talking about
- For this reason: Saying “because of this reason” to explain why something happens
- For what it’s worth: Using “for” as “because” to justify why something might be worth a specific value to help comfort someone.
Examples Of How To Use “For” At The Beginning Of A Sentence
Let’s go over some general examples of using “for” at the beginning of a sentence. That way, you’ll have a much better understanding of how you can make it work for yourself.
- There are many things wrong with this project. For example, you didn’t spend nearly enough time on the foundations.
- For what it’s worth, I don’t think he was justified to do that to you, and you deserve better.
- I can’t go out tonight. For this reason, I hope you forgive me.
- For now, it’s hard to find good housing and accommodation, though I’m sure that’ll change in the future.
- For some time, we’ve struggled to understand how the human mind works.
- For many of us, finding love is a confusing wormhole that we can’t navigate.
“For” can start the sentence in many ways, but it only starts a sentence when it’s part of another clause. We can see this because there are always commas after the clause (i.e., “for example” or “for many of us”).
Can You Start A Question With “For”?
While rare, you might find questions also start with “for.” Today, we don’t tend to put “for” at the start of a sentence. Instead, we’ll try and include it toward the end if we feel like “for” is needed at all.
- For how long have you been standing there?
While this question is correct, it’s old-fashioned and not something most native speakers use today. We would say something like this:
- How long have you been standing there (for)?
We can include “for” at the end of the question, or we can drop it entirely (hence the parentheses).
Can You Start A Sentence With “For Example”?
When we start a sentence with “for example,” we need to link it back to the previous sentence. It’s impossible to write “for example” without linking it back, and it won’t work as a standalone sentence.
- You’ve damaged the environment in many ways. For example, the trees are going to struggle to grow now.
- I don’t love you anymore because of the things you did. For example, you offended my mother.
“For example” gives information and examples as to why the previous information we provided is true.
Can You Start A Sentence With “For Now”?
“For now” works when we want to talk about something true at the current time but might not be true later.
- For now, I’d like for you to do the dishes.
- For now, you should count yourself lucky that I didn’t take this further.
We don’t need to link “for now” back to the previous sentence, which is why it’s one of the more common ones to use.
Can You Start A Sentence With “For This Reason”?
“For this reason” has to relate to the previous sentence before we can right it. We use it to justify our reasons for saying or doing something.
- I can’t help you. For this reason, you’ll need to find somebody else.
- I’m going to leave soon. For this reason, I’ve packed a few things to give as gifts to you all.
“For this reason” explains the reason behind doing something in the previous sentence.
Where Should I Place The Comma When Using “For” At The Beginning Of A Sentence?
If we’re using “for” at the beginning of a sentence, there’s a really easy way to remember the comma rules that come with it.
“For” at the beginning of a sentence always comes as part of a clause. Therefore, we place the comma at the end of the clause that includes “for” every time.
To help you understand what we mean, we can break the clauses using “for” down:
- For example
- For many of us
- For some time
- For now
- For this reason
- For what it’s worth
All of these examples use “for” at the start of a sentence, and they are also clauses in themselves. The comma only applies at the end of each of these clauses, and we then continue the sentence as normal.
Alternatives To Starting A Sentence With “For”
There are a few alternatives to starting a sentence with “for.” Most of them depend on the specific reason you’re using them, but the best are:
You might also like: Can You End A Sentence With “For”? Learn It Here! (With Examples)