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"Il a commencé à neiger."

Translation:It started to snow.

5 years ago

30 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/bristact1

My translation was "It began to snow" and I've been marked wrong! The injustice!

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rachael.cr3
rachael.cr3
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Yeah, that's a completely acceptable answer, report it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dave_Gillis

"It has begun to snow" worked; the past tense is probably the problem.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/denavancou

Correct

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PJMCD
PJMCD
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In my opinion, 'it began to snow' is more past tense, and 'it has started to snow is more present tense. Still, it probably should be accepted, but hey, we all know that Duo's a little fussy.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

"It began to snow" is Simple Past in English. "It has begun to snow" is Present Perfect. While we do think of the second one as referring to a present event, note that the beginning is in the (recent) past.

Either sentence is a possible translation of the French sentence in the passé composé.

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/passecompose.htm

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mallowigi
MallowigiPlus
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IMO in english we always say "it started" rather than "it began". Just my two cents

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/smearedink

I disagree. "It began to snow" is totally fine, if perhaps a bit more literary-sounding than "it started to snow." If it's still being marked wrong, it should be reported.

5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

"It began" is quite normal in my part of the English-speaking world (Western Canada).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SabnSaa

Always? Nah! "Began to snow" is used as well, though perhaps not as commonly.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rrebeiz40

Duo discriminates between began and begun. Their English Nazis as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

I beg your pardon?

Duo discriminates between "began" and "begun" because they are different words with different uses. "Began" is the past tense form of "begin"; "begun" is the past participle.

Ex:
I begin to understand
I began to understand
I have begun to understand.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zzyss
zzyss
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Why is à necessary here in front of the infinitive?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Perseph1955
Perseph1955
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Winter is coming.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shahtheking

Why is it 'commencé a' instead of 'commencé de'? I thought 'de' is always used for impersonal 'il' (which is the case here)? I'm confused :((

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

I gather that "commencer" in particular can take either à or de.

This may help: http://french.about.com/library/prepositions/bl_prep_a_vs_de2.htm

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdg9999

Winter is coming.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndrewSyke3

Did anyone else get confused with 'il a commencé à nager'?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shavonne_5

Does, "It's beginning to snow." not work as a translation here?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/shahtheking

No, because the sentence is in passé composé so it has to be in English past tense i.e. 'it began to snow' and 'it has begun to snow' are accepted.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/denavancou

Began...à commencé

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/solitudeape

I typed "Il a commence a neiger" several times and it told me I'm typing in English, not French.

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/quynguyenvan

Why "It is started to snow" is rejected?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kai681146

Did anyone else hear deiger instead of neiger?

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ghaith415370
ghaith415370
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I think is de brtter than a here

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

Could you explain why you think so? I get the impression most people think they are pretty much interchangeable with "commencer".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ghaith415370
ghaith415370
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Because it impersonal

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

Thank you for that. I notice that shahtheking mentions a similar opinion in a comment from a year ago, further up the page.

I have been doing some research, and, while I find quite a lot of discussion about "commencer à" vs. "commencer de", I haven't found a single mention of there being any distinction based on the impersonal nature of the subject.

I read more than one article that goes into great detail about "commencer à" being used with verbs that give an idea of an action that implies moving toward a goal of some kind, while "commencer de" is used for more short-term actions. One article gave these examples:
Cet enfant commence à parler.
Nous sommes arrivés au moment où l’orateur commençait de parler.

Other articles mention that "commencer de" is more common when referring to a past event.

However! Nearly all these articles, and others besides, finished by saying that these distinctions were often not observed in actual use, and that, in general "commencer à" is much more commonly used in modern French, especially in speech, and "commencer de" is more often seen in writing, especially literary writing, and is considered "soutenue" (high-register, formal)

http://pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/info/circulo/no19/verroens.htm
http://parler-francais.eklablog.com/commencer-continuer-a-de-a5048120
http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=2316
http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/commencer-%C3%A0-de-infinitif.112868/

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ghaith415370
ghaith415370
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Diana thank you very much you are such a helpful persone you doing a lot of hard work to explain some things to the people and for me i have been learning a lot from your presence and of course sitesurf

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DianaM

You are most welcome! I am honoured to be mentioned in the same sentence as Sitesurf, though of course her learning extends far beyond my own (plus, she's, you know, French, while I am only a lowly étudiante).

2 years ago