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Quick answer
"De repente" is an adverb which is often translated as "suddenly", and "empezó a llover" is a phrase which is often translated as "it started raining". Learn more about the difference between "de repente" and "empezó a llover" below.
de repente(
deh
 
rreh
-
pehn
-
teh
)
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (all at once)
a. suddenly
Estaba caminando a la escuela cuando de repente comenzó a llover.I was walking to school when suddenly it started to rain.
b. all of a sudden
De repente, el aula se llenó de estudiantes.All of a sudden, the classroom was full of students.
2. (possibly)
a. maybe
De repente se le olvidó que ustedes se iban a encontrar.Maybe she forgot that you were going to meet up.
b. perhaps
¿De repente le gustaría una taza de té, señora?Perhaps you would like a cup of tea, ma'am?
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empezó a llover
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (weather)
a. it started raining
Empezó a llover y la gente se marchó a toda prisa de la playa.It started raining and people left the beach in a hurry.
b. it began raining
Empezó a llover y yo no llevaba paraguas.It began raining and I didn't have an umbrella with me.
c. it started to rain
Cuando empezó a llover, nosotros ya estábamos en casa.When it started to rain, we were already home.
d. it began to rain
Hizo buen día por la mañana, pero por la tarde el cielo se cubrió de nubes y empezó a llover.The weather was nice in the morning, but in the afternoon the sky got clouded over and it began to rain.
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