Lesson 18 – Prepositions and Infinitives

Leçon 18 – Prepositions and Infinitives

Some French verbs require the preposition à or de before a following infinitive, while others are followed by the infinitive directly without an intervening preposition.

Which verbs require à before the infinitive?

  • apprendre (to learn)
  • aider (to help)
  • enseigner (to teach)
  • commencer (to begin)
  • inviter (to invite)

Nous apprenons à lire et à écrire.

We are learning to read and write.


Il m’enseigne à nager.

He is teaching me to swim.


Il nous a invités à dîner chez lui.

He invited us to dine at his house.


Nous commençons à comprendre.

We are beginning to understand.


Je vous aiderai à le faire.

will help you do it.


Which verbs require de before the infinitive?

  • cesser (to stop)
  • décider (to decide)
  • défendre (to forbid)
  • demander (to ask)
  • dire (to tell)
  • empêcher (to prevent)
  • essayer (to try)
  • tâcher (to try)
  • se garder (to be careful not to do)
  • manquer (to miss/lack)
  • oublier (to forget)
  • promettre (to promise)
  • refuser (to refuse)
  • se souvenir (to remember)

Es-ce qu’il a cessé de pleuvoir?

Has it stopped raining?


Il est défendu de faire cela.

It is forbidden to do that.


Je me garderai de le lui dire.

I will be careful not to tell it to him.


Il a promis qu’il tâcherait de venir.

He promised that he would try to come.


Verbs Followed Directly by the Infinitive

Many verbs in French are followed by the infinitive form of the verb and do not use either à or de.

  • vouloir (to want)
  • désirer (to desire, want)
  • aimer (to like)
  • aimer mieux (to prefer)
  • préférer (to prefer)
  • aller (to go)
  • devoir (must, ought)
  • savoir (to know how to)
  • pouvoir (to be able to, can)
  • il faut (it is necessary)
  • compter (to intend)
  • oser (to dare)
  • laisser (to let, allow)
  • envoyer (to send)

Je compte revenir ici l’année prochaine.

intend to come back here next year.


Nous ne voulons pas le faire.

We do not want to do it.


Laissez-moi parler.

Let me speak.


Envoyez chercher le médecin.

Send for the doctor.


As alway, feel free to leave comments or suggestions! I have not forgotten about the requested items from last week. I will get to those soon!


Merci à vous !



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