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Verbs and their prepositions

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Il en a envie.

Verbs and their prepositions

10 French verbs that don’t use a preposition

  1. attendre ø…. to wait for
  2. chercher ø…. to look for
  3. écouter ø…. to listen to
  4. lâcher ø …. to let go off
  5. payer ø …. to pay for
  6. regarder ø …. to look at
  7. pouvoir ø …. to be able to
  8. demander ø …. to ask for, to file for
  9. sortir ø …. to take out
  10. rentrer ø …. to bring back in, to take in(side)

 

10 French verbs that use the preposition ‘à’

  1. demander à …. to ask ø
  2. dire à …. to tell ø
  3. offrir à …. to offer ø
  4. répondre à …. to answer ø
  5. ressembler à …. to resemble ø, to look like ø
  6. téléphoner à …. to call ø
  7. pardonner à  …. to forgive ø
  8. assister à  …. to attend ø
  9. nuir à  …. to harm ø
  10. manquer à  …. to miss ø

 

10 French verbs that use the preposition ‘de’

  1. se rendre compte de …. to realize ø
  2. avoir envie de …. to really want ø, to feel like
  3. se souvenir de …. to remember ø
  4. se moquer de …. to not take ø seriously
  5. se servir de …. to use[3] ø
  6. avoir besoin de …. to need ø
  7. s’apercevoir de …. to notice ø
  8. s’enfuir de …. to escape ø
  9. gagner de …. to earn ø, to gain ø           
  10. perdre de …. to loose ø

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.


[1] unless there is a number in the sentence: J’écoute un CD. => J’en écoute un.

[2] ‘lui and leur’ for a person

[3] See ‘to use

 

 

 

 

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