'start doing" and "start to do"

nicole0087

Member
chinese
Hello,
I read a sentence in NCEtext book, which is "The man started running."
I 'm not sure if I can say like :'The man started to run.'
Are both of these two sentences right or not? And why?
Thanks!
 
  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Yes, they're both grammatically correct.
    I don't know that there's a "why" involved other than that they both make sense and lack errors.
     
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    Jorge_Molina

    New Member
    Spanish
    I see a small differece in meaning in those two sentences:

    "the man started running" I would say that this sentence denotes an activity that the man does regularly, like running every wednesday.

    and "the man started to run" would refer to an action that spontaneously happened.

    I hope you find this useful, cheers!
     

    xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    "the man started running" I would say that this sentence denotes an activity that the man does regularly, like running every wednesday.

    and "the man started to run" would refer to an action that spontaneously happened.

    These could, yes, but you can mix and match.
    "The man started to run [every Tuesday at 4:00]."
    "The man started running [as soon as the policeman got close]."
     

    Jorge_Molina

    New Member
    Spanish
    These could, yes, but you can mix and match.
    "The man started to run [every Tuesday at 4:00]."
    "The man started running [as soon as the policeman got close]."


    Yes, but you added complements to the sentences, in that way the meaning of them is shown a lot clearer than before.
     

    xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I was illustrating that the infinitive can apply to regular activity, and the gerund to sudden bursts.
    Neither is automatically understood to do so.
     
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    nicole0087

    Member
    chinese
    Can I think that the infinitive applies to regular activity, and the gerund applies to sudden bursts, no matter which verb is uesed before them?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Can I think that the infinitive applies to regular activity, and the gerund applies to sudden bursts, no matter which verb is uesed before them?
    No, sorry, nicole.

    Some verbs take only the infinitive, some only the gerund. Some take both, with little difference in meaning; others take both, with a marked difference in meaning.
     

    Akire72

    Senior Member
    Italian - Italy
    I found these sentences and was wondering if there's any specific rule about this verb. I've always been taught that start and stop have V-ing following, but apparently, I was taught wrong.



    Infinitive complement
    • appear: In addition to the resident breeding birds during late summer wildfowl and waders start to appear.
    • feel: As soon as I started to feel good about myself again, I began to eat more healthily and I got stronger.
    Present participle complement
    • think: Chris asked members to start thinking about the Club's development plan which will be a working document for the Committee to continue.
    • talk: Gordon Brown started talking tough this week about standing up to the unions over pensions.
    • write: In September 2003 we started writing a bid to Youth Music for a further year of funding.
    In my opinion the last 3 sentences can has to+infinitive, but the first two are sound odd with V-ing.

    In addition to the resident breeding birds during late summer wildfowl and waders start to appear.
    In addition to the resident breeding birds during late summer wildfowl and waders start appearing.:confused:

    As soon as I started to feel good about myself again, I began to eat more healthily and I got stronger.
    As soon as I started feeling good about myself again, I began to eat more healthily and I got stronger.

    This example obviously use V-ing to avoid repetition of to:

    Chris asked members to start thinking about the Club's development plan which will be a working document for the Committee to continue.

    Chris asked members to start to think about the Club's development plan which will be a working document for the Committee to continue:cross:
     

    nicole0087

    Member
    chinese
    I found these sentences and was wondering if there's any specific rule about this verb. I've always been taught that start and stop have V-ing following, but apparently, I was taught wrong.




    Infinitive complement
    • appear: In addition to the resident breeding birds during late summer wildfowl and waders start to appear.
    • feel: As soon as I started to feel good about myself again, I began to eat more healthily and I got stronger.
    Present participle complement
    • think: Chris asked members to start thinking about the Club's development plan which will be a working document for the Committee to continue.
    • talk: Gordon Brown started talking tough this week about standing up to the unions over pensions.
    • write: In September 2003 we started writing a bid to Youth Music for a further year of funding.
    In my opinion the last 3 sentences can has to+infinitive, but the first two are sound odd with V-ing.

    In addition to the resident breeding birds during late summer wildfowl and waders start to appear.
    In addition to the resident breeding birds during late summer wildfowl and waders start appearing.:confused:

    As soon as I started to feel good about myself again, I began to eat more healthily and I got stronger.
    As soon as I started feeling good about myself again, I began to eat more healthily and I got stronger.

    This example obviously use V-ing to avoid repetition of to:

    Chris asked members to start thinking about the Club's development plan which will be a working document for the Committee to continue.

    Chris asked members to start to think about the Club's development plan which will be a working document for the Committee to continue:cross:

    I have read these sentenses. If infinitive applies to regular activities and gerund applies to sudden burst or irregular activities, the sentences sounds strange. :confused:
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    Infinitive complement
    • appear: In addition to the resident breeding birds during late summer wildfowl and waders start to appear.

    • feel: As soon as I started to feel good about myself again, I began to eat more healthily and I got stronger.


    So, I'm reviving this thread because this question came up in the Arabic forum. Personally, I would happily say:

    "As soon as I started feeling good about myself again, I began eating more healthily" -

    with gerunds in every position.

    Maybe this is perceived as incorrect with a verb like "feel"? To be quite honest I can't detect a distinction. (Never mind the fact that colloquially I would actually say "I began eating healthier:D")

    No, sorry, nicole.

    Some verbs take only the infinitive, some only the gerund. Some take both, with little difference in meaning; others take both, with a marked difference in meaning.


    Can you give an example where there would be a marked difference in meaning? I just can't think of one.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Can you give an example where there would be a marked difference in meaning? I just can't think of one.
    I stopped to smoke:
    I stopped whatever I was doing in order to have a cigarette.

    I stopped smoking:
    I became an ex-smoker.

    :)
     

    zhaul-san

    Senior Member
    mexican spanish
    I sense another slightly difference in meaning, but it could be a personal missinterpretation.

    The man started to run. --> but he is finished doing so
    The man started running.--> and probably is still running.

    Does this make sense?
     

    Skin

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Can you give an example where there would be a marked difference in meaning? I just can't think of one.

    Another one:

    1) I remember posting the letters: referring to the past: I have the memory of doing so in the past;

    2) Remember to lock the door: referring to the future: don't forget to do so.

    Bye
     

    clevermizo

    Senior Member
    English (USA), Spanish
    I stopped to smoke:
    I stopped whatever I was doing in order to have a cigarette.

    I stopped smoking:
    I became an ex-smoker.

    :)

    Another one:

    1) I remember posting the letters: referring to the past: I have the memory of doing so in the past;

    2) Remember to lock the door: referring to the future: don't forget to do so.

    Bye

    No, I have no problem thinking of examples where the choice of gerund or "to"-infinitive changes meaning.

    I'm talking specifically about examples with start (start to X or start X-ing) where I have a really hard time detecting a difference.

    And to Loob, I think I simply misunderstood you or just misread you. When you said:

    Some verbs** take only the infinitive, some only the gerund. Some take both, with little difference in meaning; others take both, with a marked difference in meaning.

    I thought by verb** you meant the verb-derived gerund or infinitive that follows the word start. I don't really know why I thought that now; I was probably reading too quickly:D. But do you think that start is a verb which can take both with little difference in meaning?
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    He started to run before he ran, but once he is running, we say "He has started running". The difference is usually slight, but real:

    He has never actually run for public office. The man started to run but did not seem to be able to get all the requisite papers filed in time. [Running does not fit this sentence.]

    The man started running back in December, and he still runs every Wednesday night. [Running fits this sentence better than to run.]
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    He started to run before he ran, but once he was running, we say "He has started running". The difference is usually slight, but real:

    He has never actually run for public office. The man started to run but did not seem to be able to get all the requisite papers filed in time. [Running does not fit this sentence.]

    The man started running back in December, and he still runs every Wednesday night. [Running fits this sentence better than to run.]
    You have me convinced.
     

    sevengem

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Well, I was taught that we use "to do" after "start" when the subject of the sentence is not a person. Is that correct?

    e.g. It started to rain. NOT It started raining.
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Well, I was taught that we use "to do" after "start" when the subject of the sentence is not a person. Is that correct?

    e.g. It started to rain. NOT It started raining.

    It started to rain.
    means pretty much the same as It started raining. and I'm sure both could be used.
     

    whynottail

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hello,
    I read a sentence in NCEtext book, which is "The man started running."
    I 'm not sure if I can say like :'The man started to run.'
    Are both of these two sentences right or not? And why?
    Thanks!


    It seems-

    in "The man started running." , the emphasis is on "running" (i.e. an activity that lasts for quite a while);

    in 'The man started to run.', the emphasis is on "started" (i.e. the moment the activity was triggered).
     
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