I like to think it's spring in February when the very first snow drop pushes through the snow. But by the time you read this it will be May, the snowdrops have long retreated back into the soil and the garden is full of blossom, late tulips, primroses and all the rest. It is a time of new beginnings, of fresh hopes.

Kick off – it originated as the beginning of a game of soccer or rugby, but now has wider usage. People sometimes say ‘To kick off’ when they are beginning an argument or listing events that will take place.

Commence. The first day of term in some colleges is referred to as commencement.

Genesis – the origins, and for those who are Jewish or Christian it also refers to the beginning of their scriptures.

Birth – that is a new beginning for everyone, but you can also refer to the birth of an idea or a new movement  e.g. the Democratic movement had its birth in the days of ……

‘Getting a start in life’ implies getting a good start , an advantage, a good start, an opportunity.

Get going. Every day my daughter , who has recently discovered the joys of gardening, checks her peas to see if they have ‘got going’ i.e. germinated, started to grow. It can also be used when starting a journey or task – ‘Let’s get going, let’s move.’

Start the ball rolling – sometimes used at auctions when a first bid is made. They probably won’t end up as the buyer, but they have started the process and so encouraged others to bid.

Take the plunge is similar  - they have dived in , moved decisively.

Get off one’s backside i.e. get to work or join in instead of just sitting about.

If an animal starts, it means they have leapt up , startled. The word can be used in the same way for people who may jump, wince, twitch, flinch or jerk in surprise.

Set out – on a journey, but also it could be a new term at school, a new page in a exercise book. Its all about making a beginning.

How about endings? Which of these words and phrases do you use in English?

The end can refer to time, life, a physical measurement or even a relationship.. It can refer to the edge, the border. Britain was once referred to as ‘The ends of the earth’ – because it was so far away from Rome, then the centre of everything.

Have you tried highlighting and then right clicking on a word in Microsoft Word? If you do you will see a ‘Synonyms’ option. Press this and you will be given lots of choices. .

Conclusion is another word for end. The conclusion for an essay is the last part. Usually it consists of a quick resume of all the points already made.

It is to do with completion. The end of a pregnancy is a time of completion.

In a story the end can be a climax, the most dramatic part. It can also be the denouement  - a French word which fits well with all those Agatha Christie stories where the detective brings everyone together and explains how he had detected the culprit.

It can be what’s left. The stub of a pencil, the last inch of a cigarette, the last biscuit in a packet. .

The furthest point of something can be referred to as its end – the tip of the pencil, the final part of a tail.

These are only a few examples of how words are used to explain beginnings and endings. What others do you know I wonder?