"No sé por dónde empezar a buscar."
Translation:I do not know where to begin searching.
how is the meaning changed by switching from dónde to por dónde in this sentence?
"buscar"= to look for/to seek, and a couple of references say that it does not need a preposition since it is built into the verb. So, what is "por" doing here?
"por do'nde" is just a phrase that just means "where?" or "which way or "from where?" it seems ...to answer my own question. Since none of you guys did :)
For those of you who can read in spanish here is some information about ¿Por dónde..? / ¿Dónde..?:
As I could understand with my spanish, it seems that 'por dónde' is used when talking about DIRECTION, ROUTE and 'dónde' when talking about the POINT where you are aiming your path.
So when I say "I don't know where to begin searching" technically it means 'I don't know in which DIRECTION to keep my search'. Who agrees?
Try to read the link yourself and tell if you figured it out the same way.
I know that buscar is 'to search for', but in English you are more likely to say, I don't know where to start looking..no?
I think I have personally said the exact word-for-word English translation a number of times in real life situations.
More likely to say "look for" in English, but "search for" is not unusual or strange in English - just less frequent.
We not longer use the word "whence" = "from where", but in this sentence it would be a more accurate translation for "por dónde": "I do not know whence to begin searching".
Note: English also has "hence" = "from here", which is not completely outmoded as it is used in the phrase "hence forward (in time}", e.g., "hence forward we shall hunt only with a camera".
"Hence" is also used as a synonym for "thus", e.g., "I am tired, hence I shall sleep".