Public Works and Government Services Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links

Search TERMIUM Plus®
To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

begin, commence, start

Begin is the more general term:

  • Until I can start my car, I cannot begin to finish my chores.
  • The meeting will begin at 8:30 exactly.
  • My course in Canadian history begins (or starts) on Tuesday, May 15.
  • Some people say the world began with a big bang.
  • Do not begin writing until the bell rings.

Commence is more formal than begin or start:

  • The ceremony will commence promptly at 11 a.m.

Start usually applies to physical motion:

  • Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!