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  5. "We are starting to study Jap…

"We are starting to study Japanese at school."

Translation:Empezamos a estudiar japonés en la escuela.

June 17, 2018



Why is there an a after ampazamos?


It is very common to see a preposition after a verb.

Here are some examples in English: "to looking for", "to meet at", "to come with", "to look up to", "to belong to", etc.

In spanish, there are also prepositional phrases: "terminar de", "empezar a", etc.

Some of the verb-preposition combinations make sense. For example, saying "moving toward", "moving away", and "moving through" all signify a specific direction of movement.

However, other verb-preposition combinations don't necessarily make logical sense. For these, you just have to use memorization.

"To approve of" is an example of a verb-preposition combination that doesn't make logical sense. Why would you say "approve of", instead of "approve in"?

Clearly, when an English verb is followed by a preposition, a Spanish verb may be followed by a different preposition. Moreover, when an English very is followed by a preposition, the Spanish verb may not have a preposition. The converse, in general, is also true (i.e., when a Spanish verb is followed by a preposition, the corresponding English verb may not be followed by a preposition).

Because of your familiarity with English, it might be difficult to accept other kinds of prepositional verbs. My advice, when learning Spanish prepositional verbs, is to not think about them too much. Just keep you mind open, and accept that a Spanish phrase is said how it is. As you gain more familiarity with Spanish, these things will become so ingrained in your mind that you will wonder how you were ever confused by them.


Adding to the discussion for the particular example you are concerned with:

"Empezamos a" is a verb, followed by a preposition. This verb-preposition combination is very easy to translate, since we have to exact same verb-preposition combination in English ("to start to"). In fact, the above example uses this, when saying "starting to".

"To start" is translated as "empezar", and "a" is translated as "to".

As noted in my more comprehensive discussion post, not all verb-preposition combinations translate this easily. Just keep this in mind.

I wish you the best in your future studies.


No it's different in English. "We are starting" = present progressive. "to study"= infinitive. There is no preposition. But in Spanish there is.


The primer for that lesson explains this. When you click on the lesson instead of choosing start choose the lightbulb icon.


"A la" = to the "En la" = in/at the


Thank you. En seems to be used for a number of words. Can you explain when to include le or la or is that just 'getting the ear' so you know which sounds right


(That was supposed to be in response to Alex)


Why not - Estamos comenzando . . . ?


That's a valid answer but still not accepted.


A la or en la (or male equivalent)) I thought I had understood it apparently not. Why is it en la here please can someone explain .


Why not el japonés like el espanol?


Why is putting nosotros at the beginning of this phrase wrong?


can i say estamos empezaindo estudiar ?


SamerG9, technically I believe that would be correct. Remember though that Spanish does not utilize the Present Progressive tense as widely as English does. In Spanish it is typically only used to emphasize that the event is happening at that moment. So using the Present Progressive on the Spanish side feels a little unlikely and odd to me here. I feel the context here is most likely talking about something that is ongoing but not actually happening at the moment.

In contrast on the English side... the Present Progressive is used in a more contexts than simply to indicate the action is happening at that moment. We also use it to indicate ongoing activities even if they aren't actually happening at that very moment. In either case I feel the use of the Simple Present tense is much more likely on the Spanish side of things.

I would love a second opinion here though from a native Spanish speaker.

Also, please note it would be 'estamos empezando'... no 'i' between the 'a' and the 'n'. 'ar' ending verbs do not add an 'i' to their endings for their gerundio forms... only 'ando'.


How do you know when to use a after the infinitive?


Josiah, this is simply something you must learn as you go as there aren't really cut and dried rules for this. The following link will help you get started with this:

Spanish Verbs that take Prepositions


What is the matter with estamos comenzando estudiar in scuola


Can't select right answer


I was under the impression that you never separate the two verbs (I thought Duo taught me that somewhere in past lessons), so I entered empezamos estudiar a....It was wrong.


Ld1WSb38, many verbs utilize a preposition to indicate a specific meaning or in specific structures. In this case the 'a' goes with 'empezamos' and so must immediately follow it. This takes precedence over the other rules. The correct structure for 'starting to {insert verb}' is 'empezar a {verb in its infinitive form}

I believe you are correct though in that other types of words (nouns, adjectives, etc...) would not be placed between the two verbs in this type of structure.


lol, now I know the kanji for 'lol'. Here's a lingot.


Since a translates to at as well as to, why is a la escuela incorrect?


a la escuela means "to the school" not "at the school"


Thanks, Jim226018. When I looked at the definitions of a above the sentence, at was one of the definitions, but not right for this one, I see.


I put "Estamos empezamos..." Would this mean, We are, we are starting? Is that why we don't need estamos?

Please help me to know how I would know that this question was not needing, 'Estamos Empiezendo?' Or something like that for present tense, please? Thank you VERY much for explaining this!


Why "a estudiar"? I wrote: Estamos estudiar...


The closest English I can get from that is: "We are to study"
You haven't included a word for "starting" at all.


Doesn't estudiar mean "to study" why do we need another to? In previous lessons estudiar has meant to study, is this because it is the 2nd verb (i don't remember the word for it when it's not conjugated)


That should have said why can't you say estamos coming sandal estudiar hapless en la Escuela


That should have said... why can't you say "estamos comenzando estudiar japonés en la escuela"


Why not „Empezamos a aprender japonés en la escuela”?

In the first lessons I learned phrases like “yo aprendo español” so why “aprender” isn’t accepted in this sentence?


Why did I need esta aprendiendo (are learning) but now empezamos ( we are starting) - is ok with no estamos.

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