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Would the following questions demonstrate a proper usage of English? Please, write thorough explanations.

Do you start understanding English songs?

Are you starting to understand English songs?

Do you start to understand English songs?

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You would normally use to understand, probably. But can you give us more context? –  Cerberus Jan 17 '13 at 16:08
    
@Cerberus, hope that will do the trick. –  Denys S. Jan 17 '13 at 16:10
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Are you starting to understand English songs? This is the correct choice: you need the continuous, because you are in the process of starting to understand English songs. The present simple start makes it sound like a repeated action, or a timeless fact, neither of which are appropriate here. All this is provided that we are talking about the same situation you want to describe: you are asking someone who is learning English whether he is beginning to move on from "doesn't understand English songs" to "understand English songs". –  Cerberus Jan 17 '13 at 16:16
    
@Cerberus Turn into an answer maybe? –  Khaur Jan 17 '13 at 16:35
    
We now have a beta site more specifically tailored to English Language Learners. Here on ELU, many might consider the question too basic. This might explain the lack of attention (and it might also be the reason Cerberus preferred to leave a comment rather than a full-blown answer, suspecting the question would soon get closed as off-topic). At any rate, be aware that the ELL site exists, have a look and make yourself comfortable. –  RegDwigнt Jan 30 '13 at 21:36
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As a Brit living in mainland Europe “Do you start understanding English songs?” is a common mistake and it happens all the time when non-native English speakers frame questions. In fact I hear this sort of thing so much that it almost sounds correct.

The second question “Are you starting to understand English songs?” is correct.

The last question is also correct, but I think with all three questions there is an error in the use of the word “start” - it might be better to use “begin“ as in :

“Are you beginning to understand English songs“ or “Do you begin to understand...”

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