FR: Which preposition. à, de or pour, to use with a verb.

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by another7331, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. another7331 Member

    US English
    When connecting verbs, could someone please explain to me how to determine whether to use à vs de vs pour to replace the "to" (in english) connecting them. For example, "c'est ce qu'on utilise pour/à/de (any verb)".

    Thanks a lot.
  2. whiffet

    whiffet Senior Member

    This question is so expansive and overreaching that it's just about impossible to answer it well. I have, however, asked myself the same question many a time.

    Here are few structures:

    1) "Il est + (adj. [facile]) + de + (inf. [faire])"

    2) "Il n'y a rien + de + (adj. [bon]) + à + (inf. [manger])" (b/c it comes after "rien")

    3) "Je vous ai donné un livre + à + (inf. [lire])" (implying purpose in the action of giving--this structure is very common, and it always takes "à")

    Wait for natives, of course.
  3. BillyTheBanana Senior Member

    Pennsylvania, USA
    USA, English
    Careful about this one. This works when "il" is the impersonal pronoun, e.g.

    Il est facile de résoudre ce problème.

    But if "il" stands for the thing that's easy you use à:

    Ce problème, il est facile à resoudre.
  4. whiffet

    whiffet Senior Member


    Nicely done! ;)

    There's an example of how you just "know" which one to use after you've read a lot of French. I wouldn't have been able to explain that like Billy did, but I probably wouldn't have made that mistake either. It's weird!
  5. pyan

    pyan Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English, UK, London
    Yes, I agree. It is a huge qusetion. The forum is useful when you want to know the right preposition to use with a particular verb in a particular context.

    There are some resources listed in the sticky at the top of the forum - and a link which leads to this: Prepositions
    This leads to two further links:
    Verbs with Prepositions - listed by preposition
    Verbs with Prepositions - listed by verb (I find this the most useful)

    I hope you find these as useful as I did, and still do, another7331.
  6. whiffet

    whiffet Senior Member

  7. søren aabye Member

    U.S. English
    And yet (from WR E-F exist) . . .

    cease to exist -- cesse d'exister
    continue to exist -- continuer à exister

    . . . seems arbitrary.
  8. whiffet

    whiffet Senior Member

    I don't think that was his question. What you're talking about is just how certain verbs require certain prepositions. That's a whole 'nuther issue and is actually quite easy to master--you just memorize them. English is exactly the same, as I'm sure you know. We look for things, point at things, and cope with people. Just as arbitrary, and yet...just as not.

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