You can start an engine, you can start a diet, and you can start a race, but try to avoid using words like “started,” “began,” or “almost” when describing simple activities. It can be confusing to the reader because it might not be clear if the activity was ever completed.

Incorrect: John leaned in and began to open the door.

Correct: John leaned in, carefully turned the knob, and opened the door a crack.

Incorrect: She started to run, but something stopped her.

Correct: She turned to run, but something stopped her.