"She started eating."

Translation:Ela começou a comer.

March 18, 2013

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cloudhorizon

I've always remembered verbs in their root forms to be + "to" for instance, "limpar" I would think "to clean" so that a sentence like "Ele vai limpar o quarto" would be literally "He goes to clean the room"

So now I'm a little confused why there is an "a" before comer. I understand that "a" probably signifies "to"...so why is it in this case I must add the "a"? Is this one of those special cases caused by the verb "começar"? Any help would be appreciated!

March 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paulenrique

Yes. You always use "começar + a + verbo".

Sometimes meaning future or daily actions: "eu começo a estudar este mês", "ele começa a trabalhar às 8"

"começar + noun": "começo meu curso mês que vem"

"começar + gerund" most used for habits: "Ele começa conferindo os preços" (he starts checking the prices) "Nós sempre começamos vendo as fotos mais antigas"...

March 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cloudhorizon

Ah, that is good to know, thanks! I just encountered another sentence with the same problem though which I'm hoping you could help with as well! "Bebês aprendem a caminhar." Why is there an "a" before caminhar in this one as well? Is it the same thing with "aprender"? Is there a way to tell which verbs requires an "a"?

March 18, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paulenrique

Yes. After aprender, use the preposition "a" if you using a verb:

Eu aprendo idiomas rápido (I learn languages quickly --- this sentence is dedicated to u :D)

"Eu aprendi a viver com menos"

So, when u use a verb, then take the preposition too. Some verbs may use prepositions or not, but then the meaning is changed. For example:

  • Eu assisti ao (a + o) filme = I watched the movie.
  • Eu assisti o paciente (I helped / cared for the patient).

These are common verbs we use the preposition a:

  1. Convidar, invite

  2. Voltar, come back

  3. Trazer, bring

  4. Responder, atender, answer

  5. Pertencer, belong

  6. Agregar, add

  7. Ajustar, adjust

  8. Anunciar, annunciate

  9. Aspirar, expect

  10. Associar, associate

  11. Continuar, continue

  12. Avisar, let (someone) know

  13. Chamar, call

  14. Chegar, arrive

  15. Começar, start, begin

  16. Comunicar, communicate

  17. Conduzir, lead

  18. Contar, tell.

These are some of them. I don't think it's worth learning lots of them at this point, but little by little.... hope that helps :)

There is no rule on that, you just have to know them....

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cloudhorizon

Ahh, well, It seems a lot of practice is in order to get it perfect. Thanks again, you're always a big help! :)

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paulenrique

Frankly... never mind. This is the why nobody speaks portuguese correctly.... if one does that, he will sound strange since nobody is used to that. portuguese is sometimes kinda hard.

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cloudhorizon

Aw, a lot of Brazillians I've met say this too, that even their people struggle with speaking perfect Portuguese, that its difficult to do so. But I will still try! I'm not that worried about sounding strange, I already have a strange accent :)

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paulenrique

Gud to know that. I just remembered what a famous brazilian tv present once said:"portuguese is not a language, but a secret code!!!!" He could do that with authority cuz he is rly clever and speaks more than 8 languages... i think.... that encouraged me to learn german later.... but i still hope to talk to u someday, even with a weird accent. Thats what happens to me when i try my french. Mais je l'enssaye. Je sais que je ne parle pas bien (pas du tout) mais je l'aime bien :P

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emeyr

Linguistically for English speakers, Portuguese is considered to be one of the languages (along with Spanish, French, Italian and a few others) that's the easiest to learn. (Level One). German is Level Three for English speakers.

February 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Serge675336

Why "ela começou comendo" is marked wrong

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robbence

It just did an exercise where it offered "Ela terminou comer", so why not "Ela começou comer"?

October 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emeyr

According the rules of "regência", terminar requires the preposition "de" before an infinitive.

• Ela terminou de escrever o livro.
• She finished writing the book.

Começar requires the preposition a before an infinitive:

• Ela começou a escrever o livro.
• She began to write the book.

October 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/robbence

Thanks! My question though was why Duo didn't put a preposition when it asked me to translate "Ela terminou comer", but marked me wrong when I didn't do the same on "Ela começou comer". I'm cool with being told it's OK/not OK to omit it, but it's confusing when it seems inconsistent.

October 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emeyr

DL continues to be a work in progress with need for improvement. Thanks for the lingot.

October 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/argovela

@emeyr, can you recommend an authoritative reference that itemizes verb usage in BP specifically with respect to the regência verbal? I have a Houaiss which serves to some degree, but it's not ideal. Thank you!

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emeyr

Depending on context, an individual verb may be used with no preposition or several different prepositions. "Assistir" is an example where the verb can be used without a preposition, with "a" or with "em." https://www.conjugacao.com.br/regencia-do-verbo-assistir/

To determine regência, I always google the specific verb because I don't know of an up-to-date text that covers all the permutations of regência.

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/argovela

Thank you for your thoughtful and quick reply (and for the search tip). I confess that I have been hoping to find a printed reference book, and thus far have been quite unsuccessful. The adjective up-to-date is likely to be one reason, as you suggest. Muitíssimo obrigado!

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emeyr

This is what the internet provides...1.)
https://www.conjugacao.com.br/regencia-verbal/

2) in three parts, alphabetical order https://recantodasletras.com.br/gramatica/88821

Good luck!

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FloorWarden

It is incorrect to say "Ela começou de comer"?

February 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paulenrique

Yes. In this case, "começar" requires the preposition "a".

February 13, 2019
Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.