"She started eating."
Translation:Ela começou a comer.
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!
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"...
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"?
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
Voltar, come back
Responder, atender, answer
Avisar, let (someone) know
Começar, start, begin
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....
Good to know that. I just remembered what a famous Brazilian TV presenter once said:
"Portuguese is not a language, but a secret code!"
He could say that with authority because he is really clever and speaks more than 8 languages... I think.... That encouraged me to learn German later.... but I still hope to talk to you someday, even with a weird accent. That's what happens to me when I try to use my French: "Mais je l'enssaye. Je sais que je ne parle pas bien (pas du tout) mais je l'aime bien" :P
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.
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.
Depending on context, a verb may be used with no preposition or several different prepositions. "Assistir" is an example of such a verb: https://www.conjugacao.com.br/regencia-do-verbo-assistir/
I always google the specific verb because I don't know of an up-to-date text that covers all the permutations of "regência".