Can we say"dislike to do"? Thanks.
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Comments  (Page 3) 
Hello Khoff

I don't know which part of the States you live in but it must be unusual you have snow in the end of April anywhere but in Alaska. Here in Tokyo, on the contrary, we have had quite hot days this week. Yesterday the temperature increased as high as 30 C (95 F). It seems true something abnormal is happening in our climatic environment.

"Zero, Zip, Zlich"?? I guess you are advising by this that I should not take trivial grammar rules given in books so seriously. If I were a native English speaker I could tell the same thing to learners. But I'm a mere learner and can't know what rule is trivial and what rule is not trivial. It's a pity I'm not a native speaker.

By the way I made a little Google survey to know whether what my grammar book is saying is true or not. The result is as follows (The figures are the numbers of sites where the target phrases are used)

[1] 'start/begin to do' is more common when the subject is an inanimate thing.
It started to snow : 17,900 It started snowing : 23,600
It began to snow : 14,200 It began snowing : 659
This rule seems no applicable to 'start' but indeed applicable to 'begin'

[2] choose rather 'start/began to do' when the 'do' expresses any mental activity of the subject.
I started to understand :14,900 I started understanding : 807
I began to recognize : 7,900 I began recognizing : 219
I started to see what : 1,500 I started seeing what : 564
I began to see what : 4,890 I began seeing what : 72

Hello MrP
I would not be surprised to find 'dislike to do' in a C17 text, though. Some meanings of 'dislike' are now obsolete.

The article below was published by an American statesman in 1887. English seems changing so rapidly. One problem of me is I am learning English through reading old English as well as current English and cannot make them different.
But although I have heard of cheap fellows, professing that they were wont to address him as "Abe," I never knew of any one who ever did it in my presence. Lincoln disdained ceremony, but he gave no license for being called "Abe." His preference was being called "Lincoln" with no handle at all. I don't recollect of his applying the prefix "Mr." to any one. When he spoke to Davis, he called him "Judge," but he called us all on the circuit by our family names merely, except Lamon, whom every one called "Hill." We spoke of him as "Uncle Abe," but to his face we called him "Lincoln." This suited him; he very much disliked to be called "Mr. President." This I knew, and I never called him so once. He didn't even like to be called "Mr." He preferred plain "Lincoln." ..... (Henry C. Whitney, "Life on the Circuit with Lincoln.": 1887)

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Good morning, Paco! I am in Colorado, where it is not unusual to have snow in the mountains this time of year, but it's a little late for snow here in Denver. I woke up this morning thinking of one thing to add to my last comment.

When I said you should avoid two "ing" verbs in a row, I meant that it sounds better to say "It was beginning to snow" rather than "it was beginning snowing." Its fine to have a whole string of "ing" verbs FOLLOWING start/begin: "The people all started singing, clapping, shouting, and stamping their feet."

And, after much reflection, I guess I will admit to some preference for 'start/begin to do' when the 'do' expresses mental activity. It certainly is not an absolute rule, but I begin to see that there is a preference for it.

As for the "zero, zip, zilch", it referred back to the previous sentence, saying I detected no difference betweenthe two forms. "Zero, zip, zilch" are all slang ways of saying "absolutely nothing."

By the way, I am constantly in awe of the mastery of English displayed by you, Pieanne, and sometimes other English learners on this board. I have studied French and Russian, but I can't even imagine having a conversation like this in either of those languages. I always enjoy our discussions, and spend way too much time thinking about "what sounds right, and why" in between postings.
Hello Khoff

Thank you for the reply. So it's snowing in Denver. So it is lucky for Colorado Rockies to be visitors now in Los Angels. I enjoy watching MLB games on TV. I'm a fan of Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle Mariners.

I know 'starting seeing' should be avoided, as they sound stilted. What I'm interested in is the reason why there is some difference in avoidance of gerunds between 'begin' and 'start'. 'Begin' and 'start' seem almost the same kind of verbs in the present day English, but it is probable they might be different in the sense and usage in old days.

Anyway I appreciated very much you sharing your time to help me out.


[PS] "Zero, zip, zlich, nada y nada", I got it. Thank you for this also.
Thanks for that, Paco!

Mr Whitney seems generally to have had an idiosyncratic style:

'...I never knew of any one who ever did it in my presence...'

So it may not be surprising that he was able to offer 'dislike to do' a berth as well...

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Hi Paco - I hope you are amking notes in all your grammar books, so that you may one day write the definitive guide to common English usage for Japanese students. Emotion: smile
Good Morning Paco,

I am a beginner in learning english grammer. Going by the replies, I have some doubt about the usage of gerund and infinitive. If there is no difference in meaning how will you describe the following situation.


Mary has two babies A and B.

Baby "A" is always having the habit of crying for every hour.
Baby "B" cries only when it has some problem.

Suppose Mary is telling her neighbour that.

The baby "A" started crying (or) The baby "A" started to cry

How could the neighbour understand the reason for crying? i.e Whether Child A is a habitual cryer or Child A is crying due to some reason?

How do you distinguish the crying of Child "A" from Child "B"?.

Also thanks to Mr.Khoff for the slang "Zero, Zip, Zilch".

Hello Senhilvelann

I'm sorry, but I can't agree to your opinion about the discriminative uses of and in the way you are insisting.

One opinion I heard from a native speaker about the difference of the two is that (1) suggests that the baby's action of would continue for a time, whereas (2) is used to depict rather an instantaneous sight of the baby who just began to cry. But this is a single native speaker's opinion and I don't know if other native speakers feel in the same way.

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Thank you, Paco.

May I know the meaning of the sentence given underneath your mail.

"Toda la vida es sueño, y los sueños, sueños son"

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