begin – start

1. There is not usually any difference between begin and start

  • I started/began teaching when I was twenty- two
  • If John doesn’t come soon,, let’s start/began without him

We prefer start when we talk about an activity that happens regularly, with “stops and starts”

  • It’s starting to rain.
  • What time do you start teaching tomorrow morning.

We prefer begin when we talk about long, slow activities, and when we are using a more formal styles

  • Very slowly, I began to realize that there was something wrong
  • We will begin the meeting with a message from the President

2. Start (not begin) is used to mean:

a. Start a jorney

  • I think we ought to start at six, while the roads are empty

b. start working (for machines)

  • The car won’t start

c. make (machines) start

  • How do you start the washing machine?