Difference Between Begin and Start

By: | Updated: Aug-13, 2022
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English is a language which has a rich history. The English language is an Indo-European language, which is the language family of Germanic languages. In terms of the country where it is spoken, the United States of America, England and Canada are the three countries that have a majority of people who speak English as their first language. In fact, there are more than 300 million people who speak English as their first language. However, there are still many who speak other languages as their first language or as their second or third languages.

Summary Table

Begin Start
More formal More informal
Irregular verb Regular verb
Used often as a preposition Used often as a noun

Difference Between Begin and Start

In general, when we talk about the differences between begin and start in English grammar and usage, these two words have different meanings. They can be used to mean different things depending on the context in which they are used. For example, in formal writing and speech, we can use begin to mean something like “the beginning” while we can use start to mean “the beginning” in informal writing and speech too. But in general speaking, they can be used interchangeably but with a slight difference in meaning if they are used together with another word that means “start” or “beginning” like startpoint or beginpoint.

What is Begin?

The word begin means “the beginning” or “the starting point” in general. The word can be used as a noun, an adjective, and an adverb. In addition, the word begin is also used as an adjective to describe something that has the beginning of something or is a beginning or origin in general.

What is Start?

“Start” is a noun which means to begin something. The noun form of start is startpoint or the past participle of the verb “start”. For example, “I started working in this company” means that I began working in this company. In terms of its usage, we can use start with other words or phrases like “from the start of something” and “to start something from the beginning”. We can also use it with prepositions like “starting from”.

The Similarities Between Begin and Start

The context in which the words are used is quite similar. Begin and start are both used to indicate a starting point. Both begin and start have many synonyms such as initiate, initiate, start, begin, beginning, first, etc.

Begin VS Start

There are some differences between the two words, although they are used in similar contexts. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two words.

The formality

Begins is used more formally than start. In the context of formal and informal writing, the word begin is used in formal letters, such as invitations, whereas the word start is used in informal letters, such as fiction and personal letters.

The verbs

Begin is an irregular verb. Began and begun is the past tense of begin. Start is a regular verb. Started is the past tense of start.

Use of other words

Begins is often used as a preposition, and it can be used as a gerund, which is the form of a verb that ends in ing. Start is often used as a verb. It can also be used as a noun. For example, it can be used to describe the process of starting something.

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