What is the difference between " start + to-infinitive" & " start + "ing""??

For example,

1) It started to rain.

2) It started raining.

I know start is followed by gerund. But somehow I see " It started to rain" this sentence. Then what is the difference?? When we will use them??

*** I have been told by my brother that there is no such sentence " It started to rain". It has mistake in it. Is my brother right???
New Member13
Approved answer (verified by )
Hi,

To my knowledge, there is no difference in meaning here. The verb 'start' can be followed either by a to-infinitive or -ing form (gerund). A good E-E dictionary can provide you with detailed information on what can follow certain verbs.
  • I was walking to my car yesterday and, all of a sudden, it started to rain/raining.
Both sound fine to me.

Regards,
Regular Member932
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Approved answer (verified by )
The two forms are generally interchangeable, with only slight differences in meaning and use, depending both on the verb from which the verbals are derived, and on the verb which precedes them.
In your example, I can see no difference between them. Emotion: shake
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Then I would like to ask any cases or examples for the slight differences in meaning and use for the word "start". I know...

for example,

we use the ing form when we remember or forget something after we do it.

we use the infinitive when we remember or forget something before we have to do it.

then how are about the word " start" ?? Is there any pattern for the word "start" , just like the example "remember"??
"Remember" is an excellent example! It shows you understand exactly what I'm talking about! "Start" does not exhibit this sort of ambivalence in meaning.

The differences in usage (not in the case of "start") are chiefly whether or not to omit the infinitive marker "to," and whether or not the verb uses "only the infinitive," or "only the gerund" (as opposed to using either one).
The above is not an example of a great sentence!
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Then, all I could do is to look for the usage of each verb. But the sad thing is I couldn't get much details about this aspect for each verb by just looking up the dictionary (as far as i know). Not many grammar books talk about these case by case in my city (I live in Hong Kong). For example, I can't find my answer to my question ( the word "start") by searching the grammatical books in Hong Kong. Do you know any ways that I can get these details??
some network problems...posted it again...

Then, all I could do is to look for the usage of each verb. But the sad thing is I couldn't get much details about this aspect for each verb by just looking up the dictionary (as far as i know). Not many grammar books talk about these case by case in my city (I live in Hong Kong). For example, I can't find my answer to my question ( the word "start") by searching the grammatical books in Hong Kong. Do you know any ways that I can get these details??
You might PM Yankee. There's a catalog of examples of good English usage. I'm having a senior moment right now and can't think of the name of it. You can type in a word or phrase and it will give you only examples of good usage. She often recommends it. (Others do to.)
If I can think of the name of it later, I'll get back to you.
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AmE is called "COCA." (corpus of contemporary American English)
I'm trying to Google how to access it.

BrE is called "BNC"

http://linguistlist.org/issues/21/21-842.html

http://vimeo.com/7218683
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