Perífrasis: Echar(se) a and Poner(se) a
I recently read that both echar(se) a and poner(se) a can be used to indicate the start of an action (perífrasis). Does anyone know if these are interchangeable. For example:
Se puso a llorar/Se echó a llorar - She started to cry
Or would they be used in different contexts. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
I am only venturing my two cents worth because no one else has answered yet, and it's quite likely I am wrong... but...
I think "se echo a llorar" gives the idea that it started more abruptly. "She burst into tears" rather than "She started to cry" (which is the idea that I get from se puso a llorar). It seems to me that echarse a might be something like 'to forcibly begin an action'.
To express the start of something = ponerse + a + infinitivo Hacia un día estupendo y de pronto, se puso a llover .Cuando Javier ha sabido esta mañana que ha tocado la lotería ha puesto a cantar,
romper a is actually used when something starts happening with great strength:
El agua rompió a hervir.
El niño rompió a llorar.
Se puso a llorar/Se echó a llorar
Hmmmm, here it is quite interchangable.
Ponerse a hacer algo normally means to start the action, to put your hands to it...like after some kind of meditation.
Me puse a limpiar la casa. Me puse a dar de comer a los gatos.
Here you cannot use echarse a ....
Echarse a is more used with an action that is more impulsive. Nothing impulsive about cleaning the house, trust me jejeje
Se echó a correr. Se echó a llorar.
I want to thank everybody for joining in this discussion. This was very helpful. Thank you.
I think "se echo a llorar" gives the idea that it started more abruptly.
I have read "rompió a llorar" to mean that it started more abruptly (she broke out crying), do you think that there is much of a difference here?
I have read "rompió a llorar" to mean that it started more abruptly (she broke out crying)
Hmm... interesting. That seems very literal to me. "Romper", at least in the contexts that I've seen it in, seems to mean "to literally break something". But maybe it could be used to mean "to break out".
I have always read and used Valerie's suggestion of "echar + verb" to indicate that something happened abruptly. These are some examples from SpanishDict's dictionary, under "echar":
echar a andar -> to set off
echar a correr -> to break into a run
echar a llorar -> to burst into tears
echar a reír -> to burst out laughing
Interestingly, the pronominal form of "echar" is not used in those examples. But later on in that same dictionary entry I see the following:
echarse a hacer algo -> to begin to do something, to start doing something
se echó a cantar/reír -> he burst into song/laughter
Hmmm... So, I'm not really sure. We should wait for a native.