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began to rain VS began raining

hirashin

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Would all of the sentences below be used? Is there any difference in meaning between (a) and (b) in each pair?
1 (a) It began to rain. (b) It began raining.
2 (a) He started to play the guitar. (b)He started playing the guitar.
3 (a) My son likes to play video games. (b) My son likes playing video games.
4 (a) I hate to eat carrot. (b) I hate eating carrot.
5 (a) I love to meet people. (b) I love meeting people.
6 (a) I can't bear to live in the city. (b) I can't bear living in the city.

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 

Lothor

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Would all of the sentences below be used? Is there any difference in meaning between (a) and (b) in each pair?
1 (a) It began to rain. (b) It began raining.
2 (a) He started to play the guitar. (b)He started playing the guitar.
3 (a) My son likes to play video games. (b) My son likes playing video games.
4 (a) I hate to eat carrot. (b) I hate eating carrot.
5 (a) I love to meet people. (b) I love meeting people.
6 (a) I can't bear to live in the city. (b) I can't bear living in the city.

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
1,2,3,5 can be used interchangeably. 4(a) is not used even though it is identical to 5(a) in terms of grammar.
6(b) sounds more natural than 6(a).
 
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The phrase "to x" as opposed to "xing" is just the difference between ongoing and non-ongoing actions. "My son likes to play video games." can imply that the son is not currently playing video games or can imply it's not something they do often or all the time. While "My son likes playing video games." can imply that they enjoy to play video games and are doing so at this current time or can imply it's an activity they do with relative frequency. In other words if their son didn't play video games for an extended period of time you might assume they are either busy or they are in a bad mood etc.
 

hirashin

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Thanks, OoTmaster.

Do you think that the rule can be applied to the difference between "it began to rain" and "it began raining"?
 
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Yes. If you're talking about a past event "it began raining" can imply it is still currently raining while "it began to rain" more implies it was raining at the time. Of course like always context matters.
 
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@hirashin

I hope you will look at the above comments with caution. Most basic instructional English texts offer a lesson or two which presents three categories of verbs--those that can be followed by a to+verb construction; those that can be followed by a V+ing construction; and those that can be followed by either one.

Those lessons never (to my knowledge) distinguish the kind of hair-splitting described above in terms of meaning--to+Verb means this, and V+ing means that.

They are effectively/meaningfully equivalent, and, for example, TOEIC (or esp. TOEFL) would never test the kind of supposed distinctions that have been offered, above.
 
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The phrase "to x" as opposed to "xing" is just the difference between ongoing and non-ongoing actions. "My son likes to play video games." can imply that the son is not currently playing video games or can imply it's not something they do often or all the time. While "My son likes playing video games." can imply that they enjoy to play video games and are doing so at this current time or can imply it's an activity they do with relative frequency. In other words if their son didn't play video games for an extended period of time you might assume they are either busy or they are in a bad mood etc.
Bull.

You use "can imply" a couple times too easily. And then spin out your preconceptions from there. @hirashin should ignore this reply.
 
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I fail to see how it can't be used in that way. I like playing video games. (activity I enjoy doing often) I also like to watch tv. (activity i enjoy less frequently)
 
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Yes. If you're talking about a past event "it began raining" can imply it is still currently raining while "it began to rain" more implies it was raining at the time. Of course like always context matters.
I don't think there's any such implication either. The two phrases have identical meaning. The only difference is that in a longer sentence 'it began to rain' brings very slightly more emphasis to the phrase just be using more words to say the same thing, similarly to using all the words instead of using a contraction.

4 (a) I hate to eat carrot. (b) I hate eating carrot.
I agree with the early statement that all of the sentences would be used except for 4(a), but notice that both of these would be acceptable:
4'(a) I hate to eat carrots. (b) I hate eating carrots.

Neither of 4(a,b) are wrong as such, but it's unusual to use carrot as a collective noun. You can, and it sounds right when describing carrot as an ingredient in food, but that's about the only situation. As such it sounds slightly odd to describe your preferences with either 4(a) or (b), and slightly odder still to use 4(a). For some reason, with 4(a) I more strongly expect 'carrots' over 'carrot' and am surprised by the missing 's'. (I think so anyway. Maybe it's just because I read the sentences in that order.)
 
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