Should I use "komencas" or "komenciĝas" when talking about which letter a word begins with?

For example: Lia nomo _ per A.

I am aware of the difference between the two verbs in other situations like "La milito komenciĝis dum somero" as opposed to "Ili komencis la militon". But this particular one confuses me. On one hand, I can imagine that a writer or speaker "begins" the name with an A, but also that the word itself begins.

2 Answers 2


Komenci is transitive. If we are told that a word komencas, then what does it komenci? The only immediately intelligible answer is "itself". So it komencas sin or komenciĝas (= "is begun").

  • Lia nomo komenciĝas per A. His name starts with the letter A.

By contrast:

  • Skribante, mi ĉiam komencis mian personan nomon per grandega majusklo. In writing, I always started my given name with a huge capital letter.

komenciĝi = to come into existence.

komenci = to bring into existence.

His name comes into existence with an A. His name doesn't bring anything into existence.

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