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hirashin

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Hello, native English speakers,
(1A) I began to read two hours ago.
(1B) I began reading two hours ago.
(2A) It began to rain.
(2B) It began raining.

According to one of my grammar books, 1A and 1B can be used and they have the same meaning,
But 2B would rarely be used. Is that right?

Thanks in advance.
Hirashin
 

mdchachi

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They all sound natural to me. 2B would normally be used in conjunction with another clause or modifier.
For example, "It began raining just as I left the office" or "It began raining at midnight."
 

hirashin

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Oh, mdchachi, thanks for the help.
They all sound natural to me. 2B would normally be used in conjunction with another clause or modifier.
For example, "It began raining just as I left the office" or "It began raining at midnight."

Is it that you wouldn't just say "It began raining"?
 

hirashin

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Thanks, mdchachi.

How about these?
(3A) At last he began/started to see what she meant.
(3B) At last he began/started seeing what she meant.
My grammar book says (3A) would be more common than (3B).
 

hirashin

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How about these as well? Would all of them sound natural?  
(4A) Having finished her work, she began/started to read the book.
(4B) Having finished her work, she began/started reading read the book.
 

mdchachi

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How about these?
(3A) At last he began/started to see what she meant.
(3B) At last he began/started seeing what she meant.
My grammar book says (3A) would be more common than (3B).
They both sound ok to me but I guess I would agree that 3A is probably more common.

How about these as well? Would all of them sound natural?  
(4A) Having finished her work, she began/started to read the book.
(4B) Having finished her work, she began/started reading the book.
I fixed your typo; both sound equally natural to me.
 
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