"She decided to eat."
Translation:Ela decidiu comer.
Another question had a correct answer of "a comer," this one has "comer." Which is correct?
Both - it depends on whether the verb asks for the preposition before an infinitive or not - examples:
- Decidir comer
- Começar a comer
- Acabar de comer
And so on.
I'm not sure I understand. Why does "begins to eat" need an "a," while "decides to eat" does not?
It's a rule of the language. It's called "regência verbal", and basically states that certain prepositions will follow certain verbs to give them a meaning (and that might change whether what follows is another verb or a noun). Just like in English you need to "listen to" something, but you can only "hear" something, in Portuguese we have this system.
An introductory book (in Portuguese, but of fairly easy reading) on this issue can be found as a link on our course newsletter for last month (Section "Notes from the Lusosphere - Portuguese Language"; you can also Ctrl+F and search for "regência verbal").
OK, so you just have to memorize which is which. Thanks.
Why does "comer" not require the proposition 'a', like 'nadar' did in "she started to swim"?
Is it just something that 'começar' always requires after it and 'decidir' never requires after it?
Yes. Some verbs require prepositions, others don't...
Okay, so 'a' will always follow 'começar' and never follow 'comer'?
It depends on the meaning since a verb may require different prepositions... but "comer" is a direct verb, that is, it takes no preposition after it.
Is this a transitive and intransitive thing? It's possible to have a two-word sentence such as "she ate" and not to have a two-word sentence like "she began". So can we presume that if the verb is intransitive (in english, at least. I don't know how they match in Portuguese), it needs to have a preposition after?
Intransitive verbs usually don't take a prepoisition, but transitive verbs may or may not require a preposition...
- Ela come salada.
- Ela fala com você.