he started in whining vs he started whining

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Senior Member
Except for shouting once at Delacroix, Percy kept his mouth shut once the excitement was over. This was probably the result of shock rather than any effort at tact –Percy Wetmore knew as much about tact as I do about the native tribes of darkest Africa, in my opinion –but it was a damned good thing, just the same. If he’d started in whining about how Brutal had pushed him into the wall or wondering why no one had told him that nasty men like Wild Billy Wharton sometimes turned up on E Block, I think we would have killed him.
Source: The Green Mile by Stephen King

What is the difference between he started in whining and he started whining?

start in ‹informal› begin doing something, especially talking • people groan when she starts in about her acting ambitions [source: The New Oxford American Dictionary)

Tank you.
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Not much difference. Started in sounds more American to me, I’d probably say “started off” in that context.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Started in whining" is a thing some Americans would say. It may be a dialect from a certain part of the U.S.

    "Started in" means "began to". So "started in whining" means "began whining" or "began to whine".

    Usually "started in" implies starting to do something for a long time, not just briefly. Other than that, it means the same as "started whining".
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