"¿Cuándo empezamos a estudiar?"
Translation:When do we begin to study?
Verbals are verbs that are used as other parts of speech. For examples of verbals, read my comment to Clari64.
When verbs follow each other in a Spanish sentence but are used as different parts of speech, I suspect that perhaps the "a" is a clitic signifying that the first verb (in this case, "empezamos," the predicate verb) is followed by a verbal acting as another part of speech. In this case, the infinitive verb "estudiar" is acting as an adverb substitute that is narrowing the action of the predicate to "starting to study," as opposed to something like "starting to sing."
Bob, there are three basic types of questions in which English will normally use an auxiliary verb like "can" or "will" where Spanish is fine with just the main verb.
1st-person questions of the form "¿Hago algo (para ti)?" In this case you're making an offer or a suggestion to do something. It's mostly translated as "Shall I do something (for you)?" or "Can I do something (for you)?" If you add poder to this type of question, the meaning will change into a request for permission, i.e. "May I do something?"
2nd-person questions of the form "¿Haces algo (para mí)?" Here you're making a (non-polite) request to someone to do something for you. It's translated as "Can you do something (for me)?" or "Will you do something (for me)?" If you add a form of poder here, the meaning won't change, but it'll sound more polite.
Questions with verbs of perception. Verbs of perception like ver, oír or encontrar can be used by themselves to talk about being able to see, hear, find or generally perceive a specific object:
- ¿Me ves? - Can/do you see me?
- No oigo el ruido. - I can't/don't hear the noise.
- ¿Sientes el viento? - Can you feel the wind?
- ¿No encuentras tu pantalón? - Can't you find your pants?
Duo has confused an awful lot of people with their random use of "implied" "can" and "will" in simple requests. Me included.
But I don't think this quite fits with the "polite, direct request" model.
But report it if you think it fits that model.
Duo can surprise us.
BigDaddy, some Spanish verbs must be followed by a preposition in various circumstances. Here, empezar requires a when an infinitive follows it.
For better--and more comprehensive--information, try https://www.lawlessspanish.com/grammar/verbs/verbs-with-prepositions/
For a shorter, easier-to-use, alphabetical list, there's http://spanishplus.tripod.com/VerbsandPrepositions.htm
And, a list divided by which preposition is appropriate is at https://users.pfw.edu/jehle/courses/vrbsprep.htm
Au contraire! Your alternate interpretation, like that of Colette984040, should be reported as correct colloquial translations. Quite simply, depending on the nuance you want to convey, it is your choice whether to translate Spanish simple tense to English simple tense or English present progressive tense. Likewise, "estudiar" can be translated either into the infinitive "to study" or into the English gerund "studying," either of which can be used as the direct object of "empeza/start/begin."