I have been told by French people that I cannot apply this rule to the verb commencer à.
Je commence à faire mes devoirs. J'y commence.
I am starting to do my homework. I'm starting it.
Is it an exception ? Or is it just socially not regularly used ?
Just to add to Alan’s answer you will never hear -
You have to say =
‘Je commence à les faire’
Hope this helps !
I think the rule is that "à + infinitive" can only be replaced with "y" after verbs that either:
a) also take à before a noun, e.g. penser ("Je pense à mes devoirs")
b) never take a noun object, e.g. arriver.
An example of a) is included in the lesson:
Nous pensons à faire nos devoirs. Nous y pensons.
An example of b) is:
Je n'arrive pas à faire mes devoirs". Je n'y arrive pas.
Commencer takes a direct noun object ("je commence mes devoirs") so you can't use "y" to replace an infinitive.
Bonjour, i've read this thread of questions a few times and I can't seem to understand why you can't say "J'y commence" since commencer is followed by à. Which i also see is the case on another site that indicates you use à after commencer to mean to begin to.
Is it just idiomatic that you can't say J'y commence and is an exception or is this related to a rule? If so i'm not sure I see how that is explained. Perhaps someone can help me? Is it because "y" can only replace a thing or object (which may precede a noun, such as "à faire mes devoirs") and not replace just a verb?
Also, the comment by Alan states that commencer takes a direct object which contradicts Cécile's response that indicates it does. Is Alan's statement incorrect?
I don't think there's any contradiction between Cécile's reply and mine.
Commencer takes à before a verb, but not before a noun.
Penser takes à before a verb, and also before a noun.
It's this subtle difference that means you can say "j'y pense" but not "j'y commence", even if it's a verb that you're intending to replace.
I tried to explain the rule in my original reply. (It's not explained in the lesson, but you can find it explained this way in some grammar books.)
Oh I see thank you. Very tricky
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