Easy Learning French

Verbs followed by an infinitive - Easy Learning Grammar French

1 Linking two verbs together

  • Many verbs in French can be followed by another verb in the infinitive. The infinitive is the form of the verb that is found in the dictionary, such as donner (meaning to give), finir (meaning to finish) and attendre (meaning to wait).
  • There are three main ways that verbs can be linked together:
  • with no linking word
Vous voulez attendre?Would you like to wait?
  • with the preposition à
J’apprends à nager.I’m learning to swim.
  • with the preposition de
Essayez de venir.Try to come.

2 Verbs followed by an infinitive with no preposition

  • A number of verbs and groups of verbs can be followed by an infinitive with no preposition. The following important group of verbs are all very irregular, but they crop up so frequently that they are worth learning in full:
  • devoir (to have to, must, to be due to)
Tu dois être fatiguée.You must be tired.
Elle doit partir.She has to leave.
Le nouveau centre commercial doit ouvrir en mai.The new shopping centre is due to open in May.
  • pouvoir (can, may)
Je peux t’aider, si tu veux.I can help you, if you like.
Puis-je venir vous voir samedi?May I come and see you on Saturday?
  • savoir (to know how to, can)
Tu sais conduire?Can you drive?
Je sais faire les omelettes.I know how to make omelettes.
  • vouloir (to want)
Élise veut rester un jour de plus.Élise wants to stay one more day.
Ma voiture ne veut pas démarrer.My car won’t start.
Voulez-vous boire quelque chose?Would you like something to drink?
Je voudrais acheter un ordinateur.I’d like to buy a computer.
  • falloir (meaning to be necessary) and valoir mieux (meaning to be better) are only used in the infinitive and with il.
Il faut prendre une décision.We/you etc. have to make a decision.
Il vaut mieux téléphoner avant.It’s better to ring first.
  • The following common verbs can also be followed by an infinitive without a preposition:
adorerto love
aimerto like, to love
aimer mieuxto prefer
désirerto want
détesterto hate
envoyerto send
espérerto hope
faireto make
laisserto let
préférerto prefer
semblerto seem
J’espère te voir la semaine prochaine.I hope to see you next week.
Ne me fais pas rire!Don’t make me laugh!
Je préfère manger à la cantine.I prefer to eat in the canteen.
  • Some of these verbs combine with infinitives to make set phrases with a special meaning.
aller chercher quelque choseto go and get something
laisser tomber quelque choseto drop something
vouloir dire quelque choseto mean something
Va chercher ton papa!Go and get your dad!
Paul a laissé tomber le vase.Paul dropped the vase.
Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire?What does that mean?
  • Verbs that relate to seeing or hearing, such as voir (meaning to see), regarder (meaning to watch, to look at), écouter (meaning to listen to) and entendre (meaning to hear) can be followed by an infinitive.
Il nous a vus arriver.He saw us arrive.
On entend chanter les oiseaux.You can hear the birds singing.
  • Verbs that relate to movement of some kind and do not have a direct object, such as aller (meaning to go) and venir (meaning to come), can be followed by an infinitive.
Je vais voir Nicolas ce soir.I’m going to see Nicolas tonight.
Viens voir!Come and see!

3 Verbs followed by à + infinitive

  • There are some common verbs that can be followed by à and an infinitive.
s’amuser à faire quelque choseto have fun doing something
apprendre à faire quelque choseto learn to do something
commencer à faire quelque choseto begin to do something
continuer à faire quelque choseto go on doing something
s’habituer à faire quelque choseto get used to doing something
J’apprends à skier.I’m learning to ski.
Il a commencé à pleuvoir.It began to rain.
  • Some verbs can be followed by a person’s name or by a noun relating to a person, and then by à and an infinitive. Sometimes you need to put à in front of the person too.
aider quelqu’un à faire quelque
chose
to help someone do something
apprendre à quelqu’un à faire
quelque chose
to teach someone to do something
inviter quelqu’un à faire quelque
chose
to invite someone to do something

4 Verbs followed by de + infinitive

  • There are some common verbs that can be followed by de and an infinitive.
arrêter de faire quelque chose,to stop doing something
s’arrêter de faire quelque chose 
continuer de faire quelque choseto go on doing something
décider de faire quelque choseto decide to do something
se dépêcher de faire quelque choseto hurry to do something
essayer de faire quelque choseto try to do something
s’excuser de faire quelque choseto apologize for doing something
finir de faire quelque choseto finish doing something
oublier de faire quelque choseto forget to do something
proposer de faire quelque choseto suggest doing something
refuser de faire quelque choseto refuse to do something
suggérer de faire quelque choseto suggest doing something
J’ai décidé de lui écrire.I decided to write to her.
Je leur ai suggéré de partir de bonne heure.I suggested that they set off early.
  • The following verbs meaning asking or telling are also followed by de and an infinitive. Sometimes you need to put à in front of the person you are asking or telling.
commander à quelqu’un de faire quelque choseto order someone to do something
demander à quelqu’un de faire quelque choseto ask someone to do something
dire à quelqu’un de faire quelque choseto tell someone to do something
empêcher quelqu’un de faire quelque choseto prevent someone from doing something
interdire à quelqu’un de faire quelque choseto forbid someone to do something
remercier quelqu’un de faire quelque choseto thank someone for doing something
Grammar Extra!If it is important to emphasize that something is going on at a particular time, you can use the phrase être en train de faire quelque chose.Il est en train de travailler. Est-ce que vous He’s working. Can you call back later? pouvez rappeler plus tard?If you want to say you have just done something, you can use the phrase venir de faire quelque chose. In English you use the PAST tense, but in French you use the PRESENT tense.Élisabeth vient de partir. Élisabeth has just left.
Key points
  • Many French verbs can be followed by another verb in the infinitive.
  • The two verbs may be linked by nothing at all, or by the preposition à or de.
  • The construction in French does not always match the English exactly. It’s best to learn these constructions when you learn a new verb.

查看相关内容

科林斯的新消息!
科林斯的新消息!
英语单词列表
英语单词列表
最新提交的词汇
最新提交的词汇
轻松学习英语语法
轻松学习英语语法
COBUILD 语法
COBUILD 语法
文字爱好者的博客
文字爱好者的博客
在线拼字检查
在线拼字检查
The Paul Noble Method
The Paul Noble Method
Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content
Register now or login in to access