Fussy Verbs


Je m’attends à une année magnifique.

List of Fussy French Verbs - Liste de verbes français pointilleux

Knowing French verbs is no picnic. All along my teaching career, I’ve ran into a number of fussy verbs and I compiled them into this list. I hope you find if helpful.

50 verb list

 The list is long, so take it ‘petit à petit’, or use it as a reference.

  1. s’ agir de .... to be about, to be in question
  2.  aller .... to go
  3. s’en aller .... to go away
  4.  attendre ø .... to wait for
  5. s’ attendre à  .... to expect
  6.  chercher ø .... to look for
  7.  décider de + verbe .... to decide to + verb
  8. se décider à + verbe .... to make up your mind to + verb
  9. se décider pour + nom .... to make up your mind to + noun
  10.  demander ø .... to ask for
  11. se demander .... to wonder
  12.  dire qqch à qq1 .... to tell ø someone
  13.  écouter ø .... to listen to
  14.  faire .... to make, to do
  15. se faire à, s’y faire .... to get used to
  16. s’en faire .... to be worried
  17.  faire faire qqch .... to have sth done
  18.  faire mal à .... to hurt so., sth
  19. se ficher de, s’en ficher .... to not give a darn about (fam)
  20. se fier à qq1 .... to trust so.
  21. se foutre de, s’en foutre .... to not give a sh*t about (vulg)
  22.  jouer à .... to play a sport
  23.  jouer de .... to play an instrument
  24. se jouer de, s’en jouer .... to make fun of
  25.  manquer à qq1 .... to miss so, to be missed by
  26.  manquer de qqch .... to lack ø sth
  27.  occuper .... to occupy, to keep busy
  28. s’ occuper de, s’en occuper .... to take care of it
  29.  offrir à .... to give as a present, to offer ø
  30.  parler .... to speak, to talk
  31.  parler à  .... to talk to someone
  32.  parler de .... to talk about
  33.  penser .... to think, to reflect on
  34.  penser à  .... to think about
  35.  penser de .... to think of, to have an opinion about
  36.  réfléchir à .... to ponder ø, to think about
  37.  regarder ø .... to look at
  38.  rendre .... to vomit
  39. se rendre .... to surrender
  40. se rendre à + place .... to go to + place
  41. se rendre compte de .... to realize that
  42.  rendre qq1 + adjectif .... to make so. + adjective
  43.  rendre qqch. à qq1 .... to return sth to so.
  44.  téléphoner à .... to call someone
  45.  tenir .... to hold
  46. se tenir  .... to be (standing) at one place, to be held
  47.  tenir à .... to really want, to insist, to be eager/anxious to
  48.  tenir de .... to take after
  49.  venir  .... to come
  50. en venir à  .... to finally come to

French verbs may work differently in French than they do in English. For instance, the French verb doesn't carry a preposition whereas the English does, or vice-versa. Knowing if there is a preposition attached to the verb, and which one it is becomes particularly important when you deal with transitive verbs and object pronouns.

  • If the verb has no preposition, use ‘le/la/l’/les[1] as a pronoun.
  • If the verb has the preposition ‘à’, use ‘lui/leur,y[2]as a pronoun.
  • If the verb has the preposition ‘de’, use ‘en‘ as a pronoun.
On écoute ø les chansons. We’re listening to the songs. On les écoute.
Elle demande à Jean. She’s asking ø Jean. Elle lui demande.
Il a envie de manger une religieuse. He feels like ø eating a double-cream puff. Il en a envie.

In context

J’attends le bus. I’m waiting for the bus. Je l’attends.
Tu cherches la sortie? Are you looking for the exit? Tu la cherches ?
On écoute les chansons. We’re listening to the songs. On les écoute.
Elle demande à Jean. She’s asking Jean. Elle lui demande.
Il dit la vérité à ses parents. He tells his parents the truth. Il leur dit la vérité.
Nous avons envie d’une pomme. We really want an apple. Nous en avons envie.
Vous vous êtes rendu compte de la situation. You realized the situation. Vous vous en êtes rendu compte.
Ils répondent à la lettre. They’re answering the letter. Ils y répondent.
Elles se moquent de l’argent. They don’t take money seriously. Elles s’en moquent.
Je conduis France à l’école. I’m driving her to school. Je la conduis à l’école.

Ready to tackle a much longer list? My advice: go to the pâtisserie first and pick out your favorite cake to eat while studying, that will ease the pain.

[ø means that this verb doesn’t use a preposition – qq1 = quelqu’un = so = someone – qqch = quelque chose = sth = something – os = oneself]

Related: Verbs with/out prepositions - French Pronouns and Prepositions . Verbs and Prepositions flashcards and test .

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