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English grammar
Thread poster: Jolanda Teuniss

Jolanda Teuniss
Netherlands
Local time: 18:20
Dutch to English
Feb 12, 2017

Why is it more common to say....Breakfast is a good start TO the day, instead of....Breakfast is a good start OF the day?

I know intuitively that the first sentence is used more often, however I am doing a translation for a Dutch company and they insist on using 'OF'....

I don't know why I prefer 'TO'.

Is there an explanation?


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Kelly S
Ireland
Local time: 17:20
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
it's to Feb 13, 2017

The correct form is " start to the today"

It is not a possessive i.e. the breakfast does not belong to the day.

Your client is wrong.


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Andriy Yasharov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:20
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Breakfast is a good start to the day Feb 13, 2017



[Edited at 2017-02-13 10:17 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-13 10:17 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
+1 Feb 13, 2017

Sometimes I find the best way to deal with stubborn customers like this is to offer an alternative phrasing, like "Breakfast is a great way to start your day"

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
"I don't know why I prefer ..." Feb 13, 2017

Jolanda Teuniss wrote:
I don't know why I prefer 'TO'.

It's something I think we all come across, maybe more so in English than other languages.

You certainly have to convince your client that you're right. Maybe substituting other verbs would help. Using 'make' might not convince them, but 'give' should. Also, replacing 'start' with 'introduction' might make the need for 'to' clearer. Those arguments don't really hold water, but they may help convince the client.


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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:20
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
TO Feb 13, 2017

Of course it's "to" and no native English speaker would ever think twice about it. I found a couple of rather unsatisfactory explanations:

http://www.spotlight-online.de/node/8387/results
https://hinative.com/en-US/questions/1575543

Chris's suggestion to reword it completely is probably the most graceful way to make everybody happy.

and good luck with that difficult customer! When they think they speak very well English, it's hard to have to break it to them that they've made a very wise decision in outsourcing their translations to a professional!


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:20
Member
French to English
+ ...
Grammatical differences between NL and EN Feb 13, 2017

I think one of the problems here is that in languages that can (almost!) freely concatenate nouns together like DE — and to the best of my knowledge, NL too, at least to some extent — it is very difficult for native speakers of such languages to understand that in EN it is not natural to use the noun group 'start-of-the-day' because we consider 'start' to be the whole direct object of the main verb, and 'to the day' only the indirect object.

One can to some extent understand this if you consider that we would indeed say "The start of the race was delayed..." where 'start-of-the-race' this time is indeed a perfectly valid subject noun group.

Of course, there is another point to bear in mind: whilst 'dawn' or 'sunrise' might be considered the 'start-of-the-day', in sense terms, 'breakfast' could not be; so it would lead to a rather Pinter-esque non sequitur. Hence the options 'get your day off to a good start' etc. might be the best way to side-step the issue.

[Modifié le 2017-02-13 12:58 GMT]


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:20
Member
English to Italian
Time vs. Manner Feb 13, 2017

I'm not a native speaker, but in my opinion it's a matter of nuances of meaning. The way I see it, if you just want to refer to a specific point in time, you could use "of", while with "to", it seems to me you're actually referring more to the way you're starting the day (its "quality") rather than to the beginning of the day in itself (I guess you would probably never say "At the start to the day...").

E.g.
"He's been working on that since the start of the day." -> From the moment the day started
"Drinking in the morning is not a good start to the day." -> X is not a good way to start the day


At any rate, you could change the wording, as others suggested, or send the client some of the countless examples you can find online (including dictionaries).

"start to: There’s no better start to the day than a healthy breakfast." - http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/start_2
"a perfect start to the day" - http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/start_2
"It was not a good start to the day." - http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/beginning
"Best Start to the Day" - http://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/nutrition/best-start-to-the-day.html


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
A Dutch oven Feb 13, 2017

Your client is mistaken. A clear example of "the customer is NOT always right"...

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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:20
Member (2012)
French to English
. Feb 13, 2017

It's something you also find in phrases like "alternative ending to the film".

I don't know what it's called as a point of grammar. All I know is that a native speaker of English would never say "a good start of the day" or "a surprise ending of the film".

Another good example of why it's best to translate only into one's native language.


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
If Proz is anything to go by... Feb 13, 2017

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

It's something you also find in phrases like "alternative ending to the film".

I don't know what it's called as a point of grammar. All I know is that a native speaker of English would never say "a good start of the day" or "a surprise ending of the film".

Another good example of why it's best to translate only into one's native language.


... nearly everyone in the Netherlands is or claims to be a native English speaker. And those who aren't or don't claim to be translate into English anyway. And they often assume they know English far better than we do. After all, it's an anyone can do it language. All this has been discussed before in http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/21666-english_who_needs_the_natives.html



[Edited at 2017-02-13 13:38 GMT]


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mariealpilles  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:20
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
To or of Feb 13, 2017

As a linguist specialist, without hesitation, I can tell you that "to" is a projection, a look to the future, hence going to school. "Of" expresses a part of something, hence soup is a part of the meal.

I hope this answers your query.


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Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 18:20
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
"start to" vs "start of" Feb 13, 2017

I do not know either, as a point of grammar, but it seems to be that we would generally say "_a_ (something) start _to_", and "_the_ start _of_".

I don't know if this helps you at all :/

Actually, by googling ""start to" "start of"" I have found this page which may help a little: http://www.spotlight-online.de/node/8387/results


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
PS Feb 13, 2017

Another good reason to rewrite things like this, rather than just argue your case, is that other non-English readers might also think it's strange/wrong even though it isn't, leaving a bad impression.

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xxxToon Theuwis  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 18:20
English to Dutch
+ ...
Funny Feb 13, 2017

writeaway wrote:

... nearly everyone in the Netherlands is or claims to be a native English speaker. And those who aren't or don't claim to be translate into English anyway. And they often assume they know English far better than we do.


Then you should watch this hilarious video. People in The Netherlands are being interviewed by an alleged BBC journalist who wants to know "how it comes that the Dutch speak so well English"icon_smile.gifhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-S_XbHQw9I


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