When verbs in French are followed by an infinitive, the first conjugated verb is either followed by the preposition à or the preposition de, or no preposition (i.e. the infinitive comes straight after the conjugated verb).
Unfortunately, like every language, there are certain things which simply need to be memorised, like irregular verb conjugations…and which verbs take à, de, and no preposition! If you have a good paper dictionary (which I definitely suggest - check out the one I have here) the preposition it takes (if any) is usually listed next to the verb in question. But start with the long list of the most commonly used constructions I have at the bottom of this post.
Confused? Here’s some examples to illustrate what I’m saying.
1. CONSTRUCTIONS WITH DE
J’ai décidé de rester à la maison aujourd’hui - I decided to stay at home today.
The construction you must learn off-by-heart is décider de, otherwise if you write J’ai décidé rester à la maison or J’ai décidé à rester à la maison, you would be incorrect.
2. CONSTRUCTIONS WITH À
Mes parents ont appris à m’accepter comme je suis - My parents have learnt to accept me as I am.
apprendre à faire qch (or just ‘apprendre à’) is the construction, which means every time we want to use the verb apprendre followed by an infinitive, we must employ the preposition à.
**Don’t confuse yourself though, sentences like J’apprends le français are 100% correct, because a noun and not an infinitive follows our verb. I.e. when we are learning a ‘thing’ we do not need a preposition, but when we are learning to ‘do’ something, we use à.
Il a conseillé à Jean de voir un psychiatre - He advised John to see a psychiatrist.
conseiller à qn de faire qch is our construction here. We have not one, but two prepositions. One that precedes the person to whom we are offering advice, and the second which precedes our infinitive. I ‘advise TO’ someone in French. This means the person who is being given advice becomes the indirect object, because à indicates an indirect object is to follow. Make sure you know your indirect object pronouns! If I want to say “He advised me to see…” I will use the indirect object pronoun “me” to say Il m’a conseillé de voir… If I want to say “He advised them”, it becomes Il leur a conseillé de voir… In all cases, the verb conseiller is followed by the preposition de.
3. CONSTRUCTIONS WITH NO PREPOSITION.
J’espère visiter la France l’année prochaine - I hope to visit France next year.
espérer qch is what we will find on the attached list. We see that no preposition separates it from the infinitive.
Eventually, this will become second nature to you and with enough practise (and reading!) you will know what sounds and looks right and you will cringe when the incorrect preposition is used. It certainly takes time to memorise all the constructions, and I don’t think memorising the attached list in that form is the way to go…I only came across this list once I was familiar with 80% of the constructions, and I think it’s better to learn them as you learn the language. My tips for this grammar point are as follows:
~ When learning verbs for the first time, write out the preposition they take. It is certainly not ideal to just learn the verb in its infinitive form without anything following it (unless, of course, the verb takes no preposition). It’s always best to also write a sample sentence under your vocabulary item. I.e. I would write out:
essayer de – to try to – j’essaie à apprendre le français
~ When composing a piece of writing in French, make sure you check the verbs you’re using, and those which are followed by an infinitive, refer to the attached list to ensure you are using the correct construction.
~ Learn the lists in pieces, not all at once, otherwise they will go straight over your head. Try memorising maybe five constructions a week, by writing five sentences with each verbal construction and committing these sentences to heart, rather than just the construction itself (this will stick better!).
~ Don’t worry about making mistakes! I still do sometimes, after 14 years of learning French! Of all the mistakes you could make, this is a *relatively* small one. Just be aware that this is something you need to learn and don’t be afraid to ask a French speaker if what you said was correct.
Other lists can be found here (for à) and here (for de). Remember no list is complete, but the most common ones are covered. Starting your own list and adding to it each time you come across a new construction is a great idea!
The issue of the Advanced Photoshop Magazine with the work I did for them is finally published!! :D yaaaaay!!! I got asked to do a piece similar to my “Mother of Pearl” piece: http://maquenda.deviantart.com/art/Mother-of-Pearl-554702495, so here is the male counterpart. :) (I tweaked this version a bit because you know, never satisfied.. :P)
Fortune telling is more popular in Japan than in many parts of the West. You often see the 占 kanji on store fronts and also see fortune teller on the streets in the evenings, especially at weekends.
占い師 | うらないし | Fortune teller
占い | うらない | Fortune-telling
手相 | てそう | Palm reading
私は運勢を占ってもらった | わたしはうんせいをうらなってもらった | To have someone read your fortune
手相を見せる | てそうをみせる | To have someone read your palm
運勢 | うんせい | Fortune/luck
良い運勢 | いいうんせい | Good fortune
悪い運勢 | わるいうんせい | Bad fortune
おみくじ | Omikuji (paper fortune slip, usually bought at a shrine)
These kanji are written on omikuji at shrines, they use some archaic Japanese, so it is difficult even for native speakers to totally comprehend the fortunes unless they are very familiar with the style with which they are written:
大吉 | だいきち | great good fortune
中吉 | ちゅうきち | middle good fortune
小吉 | しょうきち | small good fortune
吉 | | good fortune
半吉 | はんきち | half-good fortune
末吉 | すえきち | future good fortune
末小吉 | すえしょうきち | future small good fortune
凶 | きょう | bad fortune
小凶 | しょうきょう | small bad fortune
半凶 | はんきょう | half-bad fortune
末凶 | すえきょう | future bad fortune
大凶 | だいきょう | great bad fortune
方角 | ほうがく | auspicious/inauspicious directions 願事 | ねがいごと | wish or desire 待人 | まちびと | a person being waited for 失せ物 | うせもの | lost article(s) 旅立ち | たびだち | travel 商い | あきない | business dealings 学問 | がくもん | studies or learning 相場 | そおば | market speculation 争事 | あらそいごと | disputes 恋愛 | れんあい | romantic relationships 転居 | てんきょ | moving or changing residence 出産 | しゅっさん | childbirth, delivery 病気 | びょうき | illness 縁談 | えんだん | marriage proposal or engagement
I included many synonyms because they are very important and I think it’s easier to remember new words if you can connect them to words you already know!
to encompass - umfassen, umschließen
to endure - ertragen, erdulden, aushalten
to amend - abändern, ergänzen
to prompt - veranlassen, anregen
to back, to support, to encourage - unterstützen, ermutigen, beführworten
to exterminate - ausrotten
to benefit from, to profit from - profitieren von
to opt, to choose - wählen
to contribute to - beitragen zu, seinen Beitrag leisten
to obstruct, to block - behindern, blockieren, versperren
to obtain, to get - sich verschaffen, erhalten, erzielen
to come clean - reinen Tisch machen
to get a grip on - in den Griff bekommen
to approach - sich annähern, nähern, zukommen auf
to achieve, to accomplish - erreichen, schaffen, vollbringen
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