We wish you a good START for the forthcoming year and above all, enjoy your English learning.
START OR BEGIN?
We are starting (or beginning) the new academic year and it seems appropiate to look more closely at these two verbs. They are often confused in their use although essentially there is little difference in meaning. There are also several synonyms like kick off, commence, open and get under way. All these words are used to talk about things happening from the beginning, or people doing the first part of something.
Start: to begin to happen or exist; to start in a particular way or from a particular point. ‘When does the class start’?
Begin: to start to happen or exist; to start in a particular way or from a particular point. ‘When does the play begin’?
‘Start’ tends to be more common in spoken English while ‘begin’ is more frequent in written English and when you are describing a series of events. ‘The story begins in the attic of his house’.
‘Kick off’ is used when we start an event or activity in a particular way. ‘He kicked off with a few songs from his first album’.
‘Commence’ means to start happening and is quite formal in use. ‘The service is about to commence’.
‘Open’ is used when we start an event or activity, usually in a particular way, for example referring to a film, play or concert. ‘The concert opened with their recent hit song’.
‘Get under way’ is quite similar to kick off but might infer that preparations have been made. It is often used with words like discussions, investigation, season and day. ‘The day got under way with an early morning meditation’.
We need to be careful with the patterns and collocations as well:
+To start, begin, start off, kick off, commence, open, get under way WITH something.
+To start, begin, start off, kick off, commence, open, get under way BY doing something.
+ To start, begin, start off, commence AS something.
We hope we have made things clearer. However, we should point out that very often these verbs are interchangable so pay special attention to them when listening and reading. Of course, when you have a doubt, you can always ask your teacher.
Happy English learning!!