Difference Between Begin and Start

Begin vs Start
 

Though there exists a difference between begin and start people tend to used them as synonyms. However, it should be mentioned that there are times when it is not a problem to use start and begin interchangeably. When comparing the two words, start and begin, we can see that start is used as a noun as well as a verb while begin is only used as a verb. Moreover, begin has its origin in the Old English word beginnan. Similarly, start has its origin in the Old English word styrtan. Phrases such as don’t start, for a start, to begin with and start a family show how start and begin are used in the English language.

What does Begin mean?

Look at the following sentences.

He started horse-riding at the age of twelve.

He began horse-riding at the age of twelve.

In both the sentences, we get the same meaning by the use of the two words, namely, began and started. The most important observation here is that the word start is more informal usage when compared to the word begin. In other words, the word begin is used in the formal style.
The word begin can be used if the intention of work is suggested as in the sentence given below.

Let us begin (the work) now.

What does Start mean?

Observe the two sentences given below.

I began swimming when I was five.

I started swimming when I was five.

In both of the sentences, we get the same meaning by the use of the two words, namely, began and started. However, as mentioned earlier, you will see that the word start is more informal when compared with the word begin. Observe the two sentences given below.

It is beginning to rain.

It is starting to rain.

The second sentence looks more informal and natural than the first sentence. In other words, it is quite natural to say ‘it is starting to rain’ rather than ‘it is beginning to rain’. We can use only start in some cases. Look at this sentence. You can see that you cannot use begin in the following sentence.

I think we have to start before it rains.

In the sentence given above, it is better to use the word start instead of begin that might look odd. It would look awkward to say ‘I think we have to begin before it rains’ in case you intend to travel to some place. Hence, it is understood that you should use the word start if you intend travel. This is one of the important rules in the usage of the verb start.

Difference Between Begin and Start

What is the difference between Begin and Start?

• The word start is more informal usage when compared to the word begin. In other words, the word begin is used in the formal style.

• In the colloquial context, using the word start is much more natural than using the word begin. This is one of the few differences between the two words start and begin.

• We can use only start in some cases.

• It is understood that you should use the word start if you intend travel. This is one of the important rules in the usage of the verb start.

• The word begin can be used if the intention of work is suggested.

 

Images Courtesy:

  1. Start button by Tonyhom0727 (CC BY-SA 3.0)