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    • Join Date: Jun 2007
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    #1

    Thumbs up a tricky question

    Which of the following sentences is grammatically accurate? And may I know why?

    -The best start to learning English.
    -The best start to learn English.


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
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    #2

    Re: a tricky question

    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa View Post
    Which of the following sentences is grammatically accurate? And may I know why?

    -The best start to learning English.
    -The best start to learn English.
    Neither of the above sentences is a grammatical sentence, mind.
    They are both phrases.
    In #1 to is a prep, in #2 an infinitive marker.

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    #3

    Re: a tricky question

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Neither of the above sentences is a grammatical sentence, mind.
    They are both phrases.
    In #1 to is a prep, in #2 an infinitive marker.
    Maybe Udara wants to know the difference between start as a verb taking the infinitive and gerund. If so as with begin there is no difference. You can use both without any difference in meaning. However, strictly speaking gerund even here is more factual ie habitual because it is a verbal noun.
    Jamshid


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    #4

    Re: a tricky question

    Hi Dr. Ibrahim,svartnik,
    Many thanks for the responses. I do grant the point made by svartnik, yes neither of them is a sentence, but then again, is the following sentence is gramatically accurtate? I have a hunch it is not, but fail to explain, so would any one of you care to help me please?

    -The best start to learn English is to buy a good learner English dictironary.

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #5

    Re: a tricky question

    I'd modify the sentence, like this,

    The best way to start learning English is to buy a good English language learner's dictionary.


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    #6

    Re: a tricky question

    Hi casiopea,
    Don't you ever try to modify my sentences!
    Yes cas, one can modify the original sentence in many ways, true enough,
    but my question is, can it be "...to learn...." or should it be "...to learning..."
    Give it a try, would you?

    Cheers
    Udara

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #7

    Re: a tricky question

    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa View Post
    but my question is, can it be "...to learn...." or should it be "...to learning..."
    What you have is elliptical. The base form is,

    Ex: The best way to start learning English ...
    And from that we get the rather awkward and reworded,

    Ex: The best start to learning English...

    It's awkward in my dialect.

    Sorry, I couldn't be of more help.

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    #8

    Re: a tricky question

    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa View Post
    Hi casiopea,
    Don't you ever try to modify my sentences!
    Yes cas, one can modify the original sentence in many ways, true enough,
    but my question is, can it be "...to learn...." or should it be "...to learning..."
    Give it a try, would you?

    Cheers
    Udara
    This is exactly what I said Udara. Start as a verb can take both, either full infinitive (with to) or gerund (there is no to) without any difference in meaning.:
    Start to learn English
    Start learning English

    Your problem is using start as a noun. If you drop it you have the following:
    To learn English... (infinitive as the subject: implies theory
    Learning English .. (Gerund as the subject: implies experience).

    I hope I understood your quest.
    Jamshid


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    #9

    Re: a tricky question

    Hi Dr.Ibrahim,
    I do agree with every thing you say. There are alternative ways of expresing the same idea. You know what? my question in fact stems from a phrase which is on the front cover of "Cambridge Elementary Learners Dictionary". There it reads as "The best start to learning English". So it has to be nothing but dead accurate. But my question is then, is it wrong to say "The best start to learn English". Sounds correct, doesn't it? Anyway, there should be a clear gramatical explanation, as I have noted several instances where after noun+to, gerend is used rather than "to infinitive": for instance;

    -This is a new approach to learning languages. (an example sentence given in the Oxford Elementary Learners Dictionary,ISBN 0-19-564047-0, Page 15, left 4th row.)

    Cheers
    Udara

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    #10

    Re: a tricky question

    Quote Originally Posted by udara sankalpa View Post
    Hi Dr.Ibrahim,
    I do agree with every thing you say. There are alternative ways of expresing the same idea. You know what? my question in fact stems from a phrase which is on the front cover of "Cambridge Elementary Learners Dictionary". There it reads as "The best start to learning English". So it has to be nothing but dead accurate. But my question is then, is it wrong to say "The best start to learn English". Sounds correct, doesn't it? Anyway, there should be a clear gramatical explanation, as I have noted several instances where after noun+to, gerend is used rather than "to infinitive": for instance;

    -This is a new approach to learning languages. (an example sentence given in the Oxford Elementary Learners Dictionary,ISBN 0-19-564047-0, Page 15, left 4th row.)

    Cheers
    Udara
    No, Udara what you said doesn't always apply but I think I am beginning to understand your problem now: This problem has to do with the word to. All prepositions take the gerund but to is an exception because it can be part of the infinitive as well. If to is a preposition it takes the gerund not the infinitive. In order to find out whether to is part of the infinitive or a preposition you can check as follows:
    Put a noun or a pronoun after to if it makes sense it is a preposition and takes the gerund if not it is part of the infinitive. This is because gerund is a verbal noun and can only be substituted by a noun or a pronoun:
    The best start to it (the English language). (makes sense so to is a preposition and takes the gerund only).

    See the following article I wrote some time ago:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/members...not-to-to.html
    Jamshid
    Last edited by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim; 18-Jun-2007 at 10:04.

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