How does "POR EL PRINCIPIO" translate to "at the beginning? "Is it another idiom i must remember? Thanks
Yes, it is an expression in Spanish, there are others like it, such as por la noche (at night), por la mañana (in the morning), etc...
I tend to think of phrases such as por la noche as meaning during the night. I don't know that I'd classify them as idiomatic--but I'm no expert.
True, it might not be a true ideomatic expression, but I consider it one because if you were to translate it literally, it would mean "for the night", which doesn't match the true meaning and so we translate it idiomatically to get the better phrase "at night/during the night". But yes, there are other expressions that might be better classified as idiomatic than "por la noche": http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/porpara.htm
Personally i don't consider it idiomatic at all. Prepositions just can be used in different ways than the english prepositions that typically correspond with them. The word por could be defined multiple different ways in english. It does not mean just "for". "Por la ventana" means "through the window", for example. Por could mean for, by, through... So i just consider this a normal old translation.
OK! BUT how is the difference between "let us (verb).." and "we are going to (verb)..." indicated ? --- "we are going to start from the begining " should also be accepted.
'We are going ...' was accepted today 27 Feb 19. You're right, 'vamos' could mean either.
"Let's begin at the beginning" was not accepted. Is there a subtlety that I am missing? Begin and start seem interchangeable to me in English.
For this sentence (and most other English phrases), begin and start are interchangeable and mean the same thing.
With this sort of question, if someone does not answer sufficiently in the discussion, I always report it as a "My answer should be accepted." At least that way I can have the satisfaction of knowing they've reviewed it.
I think that the verbs empezar and comenzar slightly have different meanings, even tho they're the exact same thing. Empezar means start while comenzar means begin.
What about "Let's start from the beginning"? Doesn't it sound more logical?
'por principio' also means 'on principle', 'as a matter of principle'.
Does that mean that if the definite article 'el' is included (por el principio) that we can safely assume it means 'at the beginning'? And when the definite article is omitted that it means 'on principle'?
Maybe someone can confirm this for me...
surprised that there is no discussion, or everyone check google translate before answering?
No, I knew what empezar meant, and DL told me what principo meant, and I put two and two together to turn it into an english phrase that I knew.
In my case, I saw that principio could translate as beginning, and so made a reasoned guess as to what it meant, even though it wasn't in accord with my prior understanding of the meaning of por.
Empezar por el principio; Ok, Duolingo wants me to learn a lot of idiomatic expression in this lesson.
Sometimes we can translate "vamos a" as the first person plural command "let's" instead of "we are going to", I believe either translation works, it just depends on context.
It feels more like the expression start from first principles, which was not accepted
Russ, it does not! I do not support mindless word-for-word translation but there should be some basis for the translation you propose... Where does the concept of "first" come from for example? Don't say 'principio' cos you are using that I imagine for 'principle' - or as you prefer 'principles' - incidentally el principio = the (singular) noun. So you have really done a poor job of getting the meaning of the Spanish sentence.
Let's start at the beginning: ¡Empecemos desde el principio! o ¡Empecemos por el principio!
We are going to start at the beginning: Vamos a empezar desde desde el principio.
Are expressions very different...
I'm having a difficult time understanding when to use a, que, por, en etc. Can someone here give me some tips, please?
How would one say, :Let's start at the principle"? I am a philosopher and really use this sentence discussing whether ethical analysis should start with a principle or at the intuition of what is right. Really.