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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    Start to

    Hello friends,
    A while ago I learned the difference between "Stop to smoke." and "Stop smoking.".
    Is there something similar with the verb "start"?
    I barely hear things like "Start to do your homework."
    Most times I hear "Start doing your homework."

    Cheers!

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Start to

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    A while ago I learned the difference between "Stop to smoke." and "Stop smoking.".
    Is there something similar with the verb "start"?
    I barely hear things like "Start to do your homework."
    Most times I hear "Start doing your homework."
    I have heard some people argue that there is a difference between start/begin to do and start/begin doing, but I have never been convinced that there is a real difference.

    Even if there is, it's a pretty subtle one, nothing like the important difference between "Stop to smoke." and "Stop smoking".

    I think that the -ing form is more common than the to- infinitive, but that's a personal rather than expert opinion.

    To change the subject, barely has the idea of just possibly, but only with difficulty. It's not really the right word in your sentence. Just occasionally is the expression I'd use here.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Start to

    Hi,
    Just the -ing form works with start.

    You can also say you're starting to X, though.

    I'm starting to understand why Jeff said you were hard to work with.
    I'm starting to swear less. (I'm at the beginning of a transition.)

    EDIT: SORRY! I forgot to hit "post" so oodles of time went by. I'm having a hard time making it sound natural to say "You need to start to do your homework."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Start to

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Hi,
    Just the -ing form works with start.

    You can also say you're starting to X, though.
    I rely on you, Barb, for common sense.
    However, I need you to clarify this.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Start to

    I just mean that:
    You need to start paying more attention to the words you choose! works
    but
    You need to start to pay more attention to the words you choose! doesn't work as well for me.

    Maybe it's just that choice of words. Start doing something NOW! doesn't work with the idea of a transition from "not doing it at all" to "doing to fully."

    If I say "It's time to start to do your homework" it still sounds like too much of a transition. I mean, do it now! Don't start to do it, slowly in stages, they way "start to include more healthful choices in your diet" can happen.

    So I retract my statement that "to X" doesn't work with "start," but it doesn't ALWAYS work, and when you need a complete change of state, use the -ing form.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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