Today’s Grammar Point: ～はじめる
始める is a transitive verb that means “to start/begin something” but it can be used after a verb stem to mean “to start to do ～.” It is similar to ～出す but while ～出す is used for a sudden start of an action (of somebody/something else) that doesn’t have much to do with the speaker’s intention, ～始める is used for a start of an ongoing or intentional action. 始める’s intransitive counterpart, 始まる, does not have this usage (i.e. it cannot follow a verb stem).
- [verb stem] + 始める
Examples of ～始める：
I started to study French last year.
I started to write a novel.
If you use 出した in above examples instead of 始めた, it sounds like you have already quit studying French or writing a novel.
Aeroplanes have finally started to fly.
If you say ようやく飛行機が飛び出した, that sounds like you are anticipating flights will stop again soon.
I started to read this book this morning, and I have just finish reading it.
As you continued to read the book till the end, you cannot swap 始めた with 出した.
When I started to eat lunch, the phone rang.
When I started driving the car for the first time in a long time, I felt happy.
As “eating” and “driving” are planned action, not the result of a sudden urge, 始める sounds more appropriate than 出す.
Please visit my JLPT N3 Grammar page for more JLPT N3 grammar item.
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