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When should i use "beginnen" and "anfangen" in German?

For learning: German
Base language: English
Category: WK087

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    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    IMHO it is important to point out the fine difference in their meaning, which Cherry already signified a bit. It can get very important once you're dealing with not everday's language later, in an academic field for example. Maybe the difference is not very useful at the beginning of the learning process, but can be later, when dealing with special topics - and so, you should hear it. ;)

    "Anfang" is kind of a beginning, that is creating a framework, but no action itself. It sets the parameters for the "Beginn" to take place.

    The "Beginn" is the beginning of a concrete action.

    One example example would be time.
    The manifestation of time, the point when it came out of non-existence is "der Anfang".
    The point when for example someone started to meassure it, is "der Beginn".

    "Anfang" is also the word used to describe the moment, when god creted heaven and earth, according to the bible.

    In everyday language "Anfang" is used more often "Beginn" though, and there you see, that it's not that you could really use it wrong, cause of the little difference.
    Indeed, "Anfang" is used in several word combinations like "Anfangsbuchstabe" and it even has - contrary to "Beginn" - an adverb: "anfänglich". :)

    So, my answer to your original question is, that you could think about which kind of start you are talking about. If it's a concrete action/process, you should use "Beginn". And if it's more basic/abstract, use "Anfang" - and also when you're in doubt, or about combinations. Then you should be just fine. :)

    This difference is about interpretation on the other side, and it will be obvious most of the times what you're talking about.

    Kind Regards,
    Daniel

    Hello Jorge,

    They could be synonyms and mean to start or begin.
    Both of the following sentences mean the same:

    Er beginnt, etwas zu tun
    Er fängt an, etwas zu tun

    "beginnen" could mean aslo:

    - to tackle or set about (anpacken)
    - to do (unternehmen)
    Ich wusste nicht, was ich beginnen sollte.
    I didn't know what to do.

    "anfangen" could mean also:

    - to do ( anstellen, machen)
    Was soll ich damit anfangen?
    What am I supposed to do with that?

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