Starting and Stopping in Portuguese : When talking about some action beginning or an action ending, you're going to use the verbs COMEÇAR and PARAR. But you need to add what's called a connector to these verbs if another verb comes after it. Like this:

STARTING action: Eu vou começar a pensar positivo. (connector "a")
STOPPING: Eu vou parar de pensar negativo.(connector "de")

This post is about começar + a & para + de because these are by far, the most common ones. No one gets to 2nd base without having these two down solid. And you will. You just need to say these out-loud yourself and get a feel for the sound.

🤓 When you’re talking about starting or stopping something - starting or stopping to do something… You need to get use a connector. Connectors are words like “de” or “a” — these are the only ones that you need to be aware of.

Olha Isso:

Modifying COMEÇAR: the connector "a"

You've probably seen this before. It seems like "a" gets inserted whenever começar is put next to another verb.

Quero começar a estudar português. ➜ I want to start studying Portuguese.
Eu comecei a correr ontem. ➜ I began running yesterday.

Modifying PARAR: the connecter "de"

Eu vou parar de correr. ➜ I'm going to stop running.
Ele parou de chorar. ➜ He stopped crying.

What's so special about Stopping & Starting?
None of the grammatical explanations as to why these verbs are treated differently make much sense. The better explanation is simpler: It just sounds much better to say, Eu começei a trabalhar hoje than to say, Eu começei trabalhar hoje. Try saying some other example sentences to yourself using PARAR - with and without the de.

Which sounds better:
Vamos parar de treinar às 5 horas.
Vamos parar treinar às 5 horas. 🙉 🙉 🙉

Brazilian Portuguese cares about the way it sounds!
This fact is so fundamental, it even affects the grammar. And that's also why we like the way it sounds. We like their music. It just sounds good. Proof:

Our Spotify Playlist is insanely great.

Are there other verbs used for stopping & starting?
Sim. But only for stopping. For starting/beginning/initiating USE COMEÇAR period. As for stopping we also have TERMINAR:

Eu vou terminar de ler o livro. ➜ I'm going to stop reading the book.

And then we have ACABAR:

Acabei de acordar. ➜ I just woke up.

What about other verbs that need connectors too?
You're thinking of GOSTAR de, and AJUDAR a, right? They also need connector words. We have separate posts for these: GOSTAR de, AJUDAR a

The Portuguese Infinitive is magic!

Why can't we just use the Present Progressive
You know... the
Eu estou falando... That one.
So could you use this to say for example, "I'm going to start learning a new language" -?
Não pode. The Present Progressive ("ing") is used ONLY for talking about the present - right now! You could say, "Eu estou aprendendo uma nova língua" (I'm learning a new language), but to express that you are going to learn a new language it's: "Eu vou começar a aprender uma nova língua". This is talking about the FUTURE.

This isn't so simple but PRACTICE will fix you up. Let's do it now:

Say that you’re going to (future) start looking for work.
Eu vou começar a procurar trabalho. ➜ I'm going to start looking for work.

Now say that you are (presently) looking for work.
eu estou procurando trabalho. ➜ I'm looking for work.

*This is of course the Present Progessive. Take a moment to review some super-common examples and I promise this will start to become automatic.