student asking question

When can I use "initiate"? What's the difference with "start"?

teacher

Native speaker’s answer

Rebecca

"Initiate" and "start" are synonyms for each other, both with similar meanings of beginning or causing something. Generally, "initiate" is a bit more formal in feeling and is related to the action of causing a process or action to begin. This video is concerned with scientific tips for sleeping better, and as he describes "sleep" as a process, the speaker has likely chosen to use "initiate" instead of "start." Regardless, "start" can also be used in this context. Ex: You may find it helpful to lower your room temperature in order to start sleeping and then to stay asleep. Ex: Students have just started their fall semester.

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