Empezar/comenzar + a + [infinitivo] = to begin/start doing something

In Spanish we use this verbal structure (known in grammar jargon La perífrasis verbal) to express "To begin/start doing[something]".

Empezar/comenzar (conjugated) aInfinitivo

Have a look and listen to the following examples in different tenses:

Yo he empezado a bailar esta semana.
I started dancing this week.

Manuel comienza a gritar cuando no le escuchas.
Manuel starts shouting when you don't listen to him.

Nosotros empezaremos a estudiar alemán la semana que viene.
We will start studying German next week.

Ellos comenzaron a construir las casas ayer.
They started building the houses yesterday.

Notice how the preposition "a" always follows empezar/comenzar. In Spanish, unlike in English, after "a" we do not use a gerund (-ing form) but the infinitive.

Marcos empieza a trabajar hoy.
Marcos empieza a trabajando hoy.
Marcos begins/starts to work today.

See also:

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Nosotros empezaremos a estudiar alemán la semana que viene.
We will start studying German next week.


Yo he empezado a bailar esta semana.
I started dancing this week.


Manuel comienza a gritar cuando no le escuchas.
Manuel starts shouting when you don't listen to him.


Ellos comenzaron a construir las casas ayer.
They started building the houses yesterday.


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