I want to know about usage of "start + action" and "stop + action". Which one of followin are correct or preferred? For ex.

When shall I start working?

When shall I stop working?


When shall I start to work?

When shall I stop to work?

Does it depend on a context or on the action itself? Are there any rules that I can apply to phrases contain "start" and "stop"? Or maybe there are some differences in meaning?

  • 1
    @RegDwigнt thanks for your "helpful" points, but my question is about any action, and not only about "work". Yes, I know that I put only examples about work, but I want to know answer to the general question.
    – hazzik
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 8:00
  • 1
    Also, you closed it as a duplicate only of one question, but that question answers only one part of my question, and other part is answered by other question.
    – hazzik
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 8:04

2 Answers 2


Since the start or stop of an action, like working, is part of the action itself, both are possible, although the 'to' construction is somewhat, as a little Google Search shows, more common in the UK.


The preferred form is:

When shall I start working?

When shall I stop working?

"When shall I start to work?" is more awkward. It could also mean "When shall I start to[wards] work?"

"When shall I stop to work?" means "When should I stop [what I'm doing in order] to work?".

  • 3
    Welcome to ELU.SE. In so-called Standard English "When shall I start to work" doesn't mean "When shall I start off for work"; and "When shall I stop to work" only means "When shall I stop this in order to work?" You may speak a particular regional variation of English [eg Indian English, Australian English, Canadian English] where "stop to work" is equivalent to "stop working": it would help your answer greatly to indicate which version of English you're basing your answer on.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 6:55
  • @ Andrew Leach, Thank you for your very helpful comments. I have made corrections accordingly. What do you mean by "Welcome to ELU.SE"?
    – Volubilis
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 7:49
  • ELU stands for English Language Usage, and SE stands for Stack Exchange.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 22:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.