"He started working as an actor."

Translation:Il a commencé comme acteur.

December 15, 2017

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Why 'à' is necessary in this sentence?


Both commencer à and commencer de are used before a following infinitive. I asked MOD georgeoftruth when each is used and this is his response:

Hi ripcurlgirl. A lot of people use them interchangeably, only avoiding the "hiatus" of vowels whenever possible. For example, they don't say "commençer à ajouter" because of the double A's. I tend to follow this myself. However, TLFi gives a good distinction between the prepositions, and I sort of like it.

"Commencer à" is used if the following verb represents an action that has a development or an end goal. For example, commencer à devenir, commencer à comprendre, and commencer à s'inquiéter. There is more emphasis on the action itself as opposed to the action of "beginning."

On the other hand, "commencer de" is used for simpler actions with a duration, but not necessarily an end goal. For example, commencer de lire, commencer de courir, commencer de vivre. The emphasis there is more on "commencer" itself, the act of beginning an action instead of the actual action.


I don't think I've ever used or heard "commencer de" in my life. It just sounds wrong to me.


I personally don't use "commencer de" very often, actually only when the next verb starts with a vowel sound (especially an a-). But you will find it in books and hear it here and there because it is correct.


That makes sense - thanks for the tip.


commencer is always followed by à when used with a verb.


I wrote out "Il a commencer à travailler comme un acteur" and it marked it wrong, but when I used the word bank to make the exact same sentence, it marked the answer correct.

The bottom half of the French tree will be what drives me insane in this life


You used the infinitive commencer instead of the past participle commencé which is most likely the word offered in the word bank.

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