How to Use French Verbs with Prepositions

Caucasian couple walking near Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Dave and Les Jacobs/Blend Images/Getty Images

In English, many verbs require a certain preposition in order for the meaning of the verb to be complete, such as "to look at," "to take care of," etc. The same is true in French, but unfortunately, the prepositions required for French verbs are often not the same as the ones required by their English counterparts. In addition, some verbs that require a preposition in English don't take one in French, and vice versa.

De and à are by far the most common French prepositions for verbs. Because there are so many, these are divided into those that are followed by an infinitive and those that are followed by an indirect object.

Some verbs have a different meaning depending on whether they are followed by à or de, while other verbs require both prepositions: à and/or de

The expressions c'est and il est have their own rules about which preposition follows: c'est / il est+ prepositions.

Note: There are also constructions with no verb + à or de + infinitive - see my lesson on the passive infinitive.

While à and de are the most common prepositions required after verbs, there are others as well:

And finally, a number of French verbs don't require a preposition whereas their English equivalents do:

  • no preposition + infinitive
  • no preposition + direct object

Some French learners find it helpful to memorize lists of verbs by the prepositions they require, as provided above, while others prefer a master list of alphabetized verbs.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lawless, Laura K. "How to Use French Verbs with Prepositions." ThoughtCo, Apr. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/french-verbs-with-prepositions-4078811. Lawless, Laura K. (2017, April 2). How to Use French Verbs with Prepositions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-verbs-with-prepositions-4078811 Lawless, Laura K. "How to Use French Verbs with Prepositions." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-verbs-with-prepositions-4078811 (accessed November 18, 2017).