HomeQ&APerífrasis: Echar(se) a and Poner(se) a

Perífrasis: Echar(se) a and Poner(se) a

4
votes

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.

10316 views
updated OCT 11, 2009
posted by Izanoni1
good question, Izan, only 0.3 k to get to the 5k turning point, illimited editing - 00494d19, OCT 10, 2009
Heidita, whatever in the world is "illimited" editing?? - Janice, OCT 10, 2009
hmmm, anybody who has more than 5k, can edit any post on this site, no limits to edditing, I think now youwould have like 20 edits a day, if that was my case,,,,lol, I edit like a hundred a day...jejeje - 00494d19, OCT 10, 2009
I think you mean "unlimited" amiga.... blame it on the typing ;) - Valerie, OCT 11, 2009

7 Answers

5
votes

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'.

updated AGO 10, 2010
edited by Valerie
posted by Valerie
Thank you for this. What you say sounds reasonable to me. Lets see if a native speaker will corroborate this for us. - Izanoni1, OCT 9, 2009
1
vote

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,

updated AGO 11, 2013
posted by kenwilliams
1
vote

romper a is actually used when something starts happening with great strength:

El agua rompió a hervir.

El niño rompió a llorar.

updated AGO 11, 2013
posted by 00494d19
1
vote

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 meconfused jejeje

Se echó a correr. Se echó a llorar.

updated AGO 11, 2013
posted by 00494d19
1
vote

I want to thank everybody for joining in this discussion. This was very helpful. Thank you.

updated OCT 11, 2009
posted by Izanoni1
1
vote

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?

updated OCT 11, 2009
posted by Izanoni1
good one Izan, this is correct and the best for burst out.... - 00494d19, OCT 10, 2009
0
votes

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.

updated OCT 10, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.
© Curiosity Media Inc.