Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    769
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default start off and set about

    Do they mean the same thing and are grammatically correct?

    1) I set about going to school and then I attended the University.

    2) My scholastic career started off as a student at school and ended up at university.

    3) She set about telling stories in the market place.

    4) She started (off) telling stories in the market place.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,505
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    Quote Originally Posted by dilodi83 View Post
    Do they mean the same thing and are grammatically correct?

    1) I set about going to school and then I attended the University.

    2) My scholastic career started off as a student at school and ended up at university.

    3) She set about telling stories in the market place.

    4) She started (off) telling stories in the market place.
    They are correct and generally mean the same but in conversation (AmE) #'s 2 & 4 are more common.

  3. #3
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    22,246
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    #1 seems odd to me.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    #1 seems odd to me.
    And to me.

    I can think of situations where #3 is possible, but #4 seems far more likely.

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,473
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    They are correct and generally mean the same but in conversation (AmE) #'s 2 & 4 are more common.
    That so

    1 sounds to me ridiculous. When you 'set about' something you take the first steps in what you recognize as a long process, but which you think ought to be attempted: 'On leaving [high-]school, he set about the arduous seven-year training to become a doctor of medicinel'. If someone who lives in London starts walking to a school in Edinburgh, he might be said to 'set about going' (i.e. it's pretty improbable).

    To me, and I suspect to other users of Br Eng, 'setting about' a task implies rather more than just 'starting off'.

    b

  6. #6
    billmcd is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,505
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    That so

    1 sounds to me ridiculous. When you 'set about' something you take the first steps in what you recognize as a long process, but which you think ought to be attempted: 'On leaving [high-]school, he set about the arduous seven-year training to become a doctor of medicinel'. If someone who lives in London starts walking to a school in Edinburgh, he might be said to 'set about going' (i.e. it's pretty improbable).

    To me, and I suspect to other users of Br Eng, 'setting about' a task implies rather more than just 'starting off'.

    b
    From usingenglish.com :
    "Phrasal Verb: Set about

    Meaning: Start doing something

    Example: We SET ABOUT the cleaning and got it done before lunchtime."

    Not necessarily a "long process". But I would agree #1 is not the best usage of the expression.

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,473
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    OK, not necessarily long, but considerable. That definition is incomplete, and the example is not a good one - as there is not enough context to show that 'the cleaning' was more than a desultory flick of a duster; but 'before lunchtime' does imply that the job took quite a while.

    b

  8. #8
    dilodi83 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    769
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    I'm sorry but I have not understand it yet.
    What's the difference between 1) I started the cleaning AND 2) I set about the cleaning ??

    That is, how can I use them without making mistakes?

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: start off and set about

    Say, "I started cleaning". It's always correct.

    Only use "I set about cleaning" if you want to give the impression that the cleaning may take some time, or involve some effort.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 30-Dec-2009, 09:54
  2. set in, set about, attribute or adverbial
    By jiang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 14-Oct-2008, 16:14
  3. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-Oct-2008, 19:44
  4. Set foot/set feet
    By zigzag in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Jul-2006, 23:09
  5. what the use of start off when start give the meaning
    By herbiji in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 15-Jan-2006, 15:22

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk