"She started swimming."

Translation:Lei ha iniziato a nuotare.

December 3, 2018



if nuotare translates as 'to swim' why do we need the extra 'a'.

December 3, 2018


Here you have to translate "to swim" as a preposition and when there is the -ing form it's the same, just because the italian verb iniziare always follows this construct: iniziare + a + infinitive, like the phrasal verbs in English.

There are some other verbs like "iniziare", that is with a (to) before the infinitive, such as:

cominciare a, riuscire a, provare a, continuare a, abituarsi a

but remember that some verbs can be followed both by a (to) and by per (to/for), or both by a (to) and by di (to, like "of"), it depends on the speech, e.g.

venire a/per, servire a/per, pensare a/di (note: in the first case "pensare" means occuparsi di - it's similar to "take the commitment to do/take care", while in the second one it means considerare di fare - "consider doing").

I also add some verbs with di (to, like "of"), e.g.

cercare di, tentare di, pregare di, ritenere di, decidere di, avere voglia di, ricordare di, aver bisogno di, sapere di

and here are again some verbs with di (to, like "of") or per (to/for), in according to the specific case:

ringraziare di/per, scusarsi di/per, dispiacersi di/per.

Finally some verbs don't want prepositions before the infinitive, in summary they are:

  • modal verbs -> potere, volere, dovere e.g. Posso guardare la TV?; Voglio andare a Parigi; Devo andare a casa.

  • verb with modal function too -> sapere (only with the meaning of essere capace, "can = to be able") e.g. Non so parlare Inglese.

  • some other verbs -> desiderare, preferire, piacere, odiare, occorrere e.g. Desidero andare a casa; Preferisco mangiare la pizza; Mi piace mangiare il gelato; Odio andare in treno; Non occorre tornare a casa.

  • verb essere + adjective / adverb (impersonal construct "it's...") -> E' bello andare al parco; E' meglio andare a casa.

I can not list them all but I hope this little scheme is a little useful! Good study!

December 4, 2018


Because iniziare a nuotare is an aspectual construction, which always requires either a or di, according to the first verb (aspectual verb).
The topic is covered in depth here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/20879657

December 4, 2018


It depends on the verb 'iniziare': you say "Iniziare a ... (+ another verb)"

December 4, 2018


Certo, grazie.

December 4, 2018
Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.