The Alternative German Dictionary: anfangen

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Entry definition

anfangen etymology From Middle High German anvahen, an + vahen, corresponding to an + fangen. pronunciation
  • /ˈanˌfaŋən/, [ˈanˌfaŋən], [ˈanˌfaŋŋ̩]
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verb: {{de-verb-strong}}
  1. (intransitive) to begin; to commence Das Konzert fängt gleich an. The concert is beginning shortly.
  2. (intransitive, with zu + infinitive) to start doing something Wann hast du angefangen zu rauchen? When did you start smoking?
  3. (intransitive, with mit) to begin something; to start something Morgen fangen wir mit dem Projekt an. Tomorrow we are starting the project.
  4. (transitive, colloquial) to begin something; to start something Wann hast du das Rauchen angefangen? When did you start smoking? Morgen fangen wir das Projekt an. Tomorrow we are starting the project.
  • The normal auxiliary for this verb is haben: Ich habe angefangen. – "I have begun." The auxiliary sein is used by some speakers in western and northern Germany: Ich bin angefangen. This is, however, widely restricted to colloquial usage. (Cf. the same construction in Dutch beginnen: Ik ben begonnen.)
  • The construction of anfangen as a transitive verb (sense 4) is perfectly acceptable in spoken German, but would not be common in formal writing.
Synonyms: beginnen (less frequent in common speech), starten (not always applicable)
related terms:
  • Anfang {{g}}
  • Anfänger {{g}}
  • anfänglich

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