Reading following sentence on the website of a Japanese company, I felt somewhat odd with the usage of "begin(or begun in this case)" as there are no words or phrases indicating “timing” in and around the sentence. I imagine you might unconsciously try to find “when” it began(begun), too. Is my feeling or understanding correct, or you can use “begin” without implication of “timing”?

“Not content with merely managing our forests appropriately, we have begun initiatives to utilize them for a range of beneficial purposes.”


The verb "Begin" is defined by Google as "initiating the first part of an action/activity" . And it is not mandatory to mention the time. Here it implies the company has begun some initiative in just "recent past". That should be the assumption and that is what is implied too.


My take on the word begun (OP's word/sentence-in-context) is that it is correct -- it sounds and looks alright to me.

The word begun is used here as the past participle of begin. I wonder if AmE uses this form? It is correct in British English; and so is the OP's word/sentence-in-context.

However, if the Japanese website edited this sentence to omit the word "have" then I believe that the word "began" may be used in place of "begun".

Begun: (BE) Past participle of the verb begin. (Cambridge Dictionary)

  • Thank you. So, this sentence doesn`t odd to you despite lack of "timing", does it? – comaneci Sep 27 '16 at 6:03
  • And then we have Cole Porter's song, "Begin the Beguine". But that's another story. – Peter Point Sep 27 '16 at 6:06
  • @comaneci My answer is based on my proficiency in speaking, reading, writing and listening to British English. I have a good working knowledge of American English. From the prospective of BE, it is correct. It is not "odd". However, it appears on a Japanese website and most Japanese with well developed English language skills tend to use AE which makes me wonder if "begun" is used in AE. Our American friends online will let us know. The "timing", which I take to mean its tense, indicates the past tense in this sentence, hence past participle of began. – Peter Point Sep 27 '16 at 6:20
  • Correction: "...hence past participle of BEGIN". – Peter Point Sep 27 '16 at 6:40
  • Dear Peter Point – comaneci Sep 27 '16 at 7:08

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