I came across with this term "使われ始めて". It was translated as "Started to use". My question is why the first verb is not in TE form, ie. 使われて始めて ?
Thanks a lot.
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Two points to note here:
1) The construction for "start to verb" is
masu-stem of verb + はじめる
e.g. 食べ始める、 読み始める etc. This is what is happening in your example. 使われ is the masu-stem of 使われる. Which brings me to point two.
2) The translation of 使われ始めて should be "start/started to be used" rather than "start/started to use". 使われる is the passive form of 使う.
Finally, if you'd inserted て you would have a different grammar point. ...てはじめて means something like "it was not until ...". So 使われて始めて would mean "it was not until it had been used that ..."
The て form is used to connect two verbs when the actions are performed separately but in sequence, usually one after another. An example might be ごはんを食べて、家を出る. These are sometimes called verb concatenations - although it is a case of two verbs being connected, they are not strictly the same as what you asked about. What you are referring to is a compound verb. With a compound verb, the actions are not necessarily performed in sequence. Instead, the two meanings can often be contained within one concept. It is important to differentiate between them since the grammar is also different.
For compound verbs, the continuative form (Verbます without the ます part) of the first verb is used to connect to the second verb. For 使われる, the continuative form is 使われ. This is then connected to the second part of the compound 始める, to form the word 使われ始める. The fact that it is in the て form 始めて is coincidental in this case. The lemma is 使われ始める.