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  5. "Ele começou a correr."

"Ele começou a correr."

Translation:He started running.

October 1, 2013



I would have thought 'he began/started to run' would be perfectly acceptable here.


In Continental Portuguese (which appears to apply in Brazil as well) the 'a' before the verb implies the continuous tense. Examples herewith. Eu estou a comer = I am eating. Eles foram a estudar = They were studying. But I am a complete beginner so perhaps you should treat my comments with extreme caution Andy. Regards - Mark Lahure


Have I missed something? An old Living Language course book asserted "certain verbs are followed by a preposition before an infinitive. Some require a; others take de, em, or por. There is no rule for determining which preposition follows any verb." AFAIK, the a is there because 'começar', along with 'aprender', 'ajudar', 'aconselhar' and 'continuar' are some common verbs requiring an a before an infinitive. I am surprised if Andy_G's answer was rejected, as I would have thought it just as valid as the one Lahure supported ( Example Ela pode tentar caminhar → 'She can try walking' or 'She can try to walk')


I think that the use of estar + a + infinitivo (EuPt) and estar + gerúndio (BrPt) is different from Duo's sentence. They are both ways of translating the English present continuous tense.

ex: Ele mantém o otimismo, mas sabe que está correndo contra o tempo. = Ele mantém o otimismo, mas sabe que está a correr contra o tempo. (He maintains optimism but knows that time is running short.)

Ele começou a correr. = He started to run. // He started running. (Very slight difference of meaning, but nothing to do with the present continuous tense)


Thank you again for your help, emeyr. I think I would have translated your example .., but knows that he is running against time as this implies that time is limited in a similar way to your phrase.


I would have thought "he started to run" would be acceptable too.


Both are correct. There is very little if any difference. "He started running" by itself may also have the sense of "He took up the practice of running regularly" where "he started to run" suggests just a one-time action.


"He began to run". Why not?


Perfectly correct. "Start" and "begin" seem to me to be pretty much interchangeable. The difference is that "begin" sounds more formal, so I would probably choose it for formal written contexts.


Why is "he began to run" incorrect?


It's not. Report it. Again.

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