Verbs + infinitive + a/de

Verbs + infinitive + a/de


I was looking through some old notes, and combining them into new notes....and I came across these phrases which made me say "oh yeah....."....

Estoy empezando a limpiar - I'm starting to clean. Estoy empezando a cenar - I'm starting to eat dinner.

and so I thought "I wonder why that a is in there....maybe you need an a after the present progressive tense when the sentence ends in a verb."

Since limpiar and cenar mean "to clean" and "to eat dinner" respectively then I wonder why the a is needed. Surely it has something to do with the present progressive tense ending in a verb? Or is that not it.

Estoy terminando de cenar - I'm finishing eating dinner. Ya terminé de limpiar - I already finishing cleaning.

I'm assuming that the de is needed to indicating terminating a procedure as in "I'm finishing from eating" or "I already finished from cleaning"...(I knew this once but it all gets jumbled)....


updated DIC 27, 2009
edited by jeezzle
posted by jeezzle

2 Answers


It has nothing to do with the present progressive tense. Certain verbs in Spanish are used in conjunction with prepositions regardless of tense. See article below:


comenzar empezar a and terminar de are listed among those.

updated DIC 27, 2009
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507

Well that's bad news qfreed. Now I have to memorize all those verbs. Thanks though.

updated DIC 27, 2009
posted by jeezzle
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