FR: difficile à/de + infinitif

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by Arianllyn, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. Arianllyn Member

    UK, English
    I can never remember which one to use, or if you can use either, depending on the circumstances. Could somebody help me out? Thanks.

    Moderator note: Multiple threads merged to create this one. See also FR: facile à/de + infinitif.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2013
  2. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Avec ces exemples du Petit Robert, il m'est difficile de me prononcer.
  3. happyMe Member

    il est difficile (à qqn) de + inf.
    il m'est difficile d'accepter

    C'est difficile à + inf. en emploi abs
    C'est difficile à faire comprendre

    You can have a look at difficile
    It gives examples of usage. It is a very good ressource for this type of questions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2013
  4. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Il (or, informally c') est + adjective + de + infinitive phrase, which is the real subject.

    Il est difficile de lire ce roman.

    c"est + adjective + à + infinitive (referring to an idea previously mentioned)

    Lire ce roman sans un peu de lumière, c'est difficile à faire.

    Referring back to a specific antecedent that has gender, one says

    est + adjective + à + infintiive

    Voyez-vous ce roman? Il est difficile à lire.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2013
  5. Pilsbury Member


    Could somebody please explain the difference between 'difficile de' and 'difficile à'? (as in "c'est difficile de/à")

    I understand that both are used but I'm not sure when. I've looked in my grammar books but can't find any info. :confused:

    If anyone knows that would be very useful!!
  6. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    Euh, c'est difficile à dire comme ça, sans exemples !
    Il est/C'est difficile pour des francophones de trouver une règle.
    Peut-être qu'il faudrait attendre des anglophones qui auraient des règles précises ...

    Hmm, but I think that "de" is much used.
    Apart from the example I've given, I can't think of any other use with "à" for the moment ...

    To be continued :p Good luck

    edit: I'm back

    Hmm, we would really need an Anglophone.
    I've thought of other examples:
    ma voiture est difficile à vendre
    c'est un mensonge difficile à avaler

    C'est / Il est difficile de vendre des voitures
    Il est difficile de me faire avaler de tels mensonges

    I have the feeling there is something to do with the implied subject or something ...
    (in my first 2 examples, I have the impression it amounts to a property:
    ma voiture est presque invendable
    c'est un mensonge difficilement avalable

    But I don't think it leads us anywhere ... :rolleyes:)

    Any other thoughts? :(
  7. The Scrivener Banned

    On the "naughty step".
    England. English
    Je crois que si la phrase commence avec un nom, on dit "difficile à". Si elle commence avec un verbe on dit "difficile de". Je ne suis pas certain.

    The Scrivener
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2013
  8. Paf le chien

    Paf le chien Senior Member

    France-French (Paris)
    DP> Si ça t'intéresse vraiment, va voir le TLFi « difficile » et en particulier les règles pour :

    — « difficile à + infinitif »
    — « difficile de + infinitif »

    C'est assez « indigeste » (euphémisme) mais tout y est :D... et je n'ai pas le courage, à cette heure tardive de faire une résumé.:eek: Surtout qu'il y a des exceptions pour l'argent (fric) :eek:

    Pilsbury> I'm sure foreign French learners won't be told to use those rules, as they are quite hard to understand (even for French natives). As DP said, you'd better wait for an English natives with grammar rules for foreigners... If it doesn't come, maybe we'll try harder, fisrt to digest, then, if we understand (;)), to explain.

  9. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    In all your examples, it is 'difficile à' when 'difficile' is an adjective, and 'difficile de' when it is an adverb. Does that hold true for other examples?
  10. pieanne

    pieanne Senior Member

    Nice Hinterland
    Il me semble qu'on utilise "difficile à" quand le complément est un simple infinitif, et "difficile de" quand l'infinitif complément a lui-même un ou des complément(s).

    "C'est difficile à /decomprendre"
    "C'est difficile de /à le comprendre"
  11. cams18 New Member

    French & Thailandais
    Hello all, bonjour tous & toutes,

    The French grammar said we have to employ the two prépositions in front of
    non-conjugated verbs, as follow:
    « difficile à + infinitif »
    « difficile de + infinitif »
    But these formulas need a little more clarity.
    I place "à" in front of the short contexts, for example:
    - C'est difficile à dire,
    - C'est difficile à deviner,
    - C'est pas facile à apprendre,
    - Les premières synthèses sont difficiles à dater avec précision. (avec précision = accurately, accepted as part of the body)
    - dont le nombre est difficile à évaluer (autour de 500 000 personnes), est un sujet de vives tensions entre Athènes et Tirana

    Do not be confused with the last example, it appears long but it's still a short context, its ending is at "," the () is the exclusion so you have to ignore it, and ignore everything after a comma ","
    I place "de" in front of the long contexts, like these:

    - il était difficile de communiquer avec ma femme quand il y a une tension entre nous,
    - il est difficile de les placer dans un simple plan évolutionniste,
    - Qu'il est difficile de préciser les frontières du sacré et du profane,
    - Il est difficile de comprendre comment la décision de distinguer l’opération de "de" et de "à".
    - Il est difficile de situer chronologiquement la naissance de l’âge contemporain.

    Voilà, je crois que cela vous convient. I hope it helps you.
  12. Agent Literary

    Agent Literary Senior Member

    Paris, France
    England, English
    I agree with cams18.
    What I was taught is that there is a general rule applied to "de" and "à", no matter what the preceding adjective.
    Basically, you use "il est (adjective) de (verb)" when the clause is followed by another one, ie. when the sentence is a long one.
    You use "c'est (adjective) à (verb)" when that clause is the only thing you want to express.
    As such, you would only rarely say "c'est (adjective) de (verb)".
    That may not be clear, so here are some examples:

    C'est tres facile à faire.
    C'est difficile à comprendre.
    C'est compliqué à expliquer.

    Il est très facile de faire ce qu'on veut quand personne ne t'agace.
    Il est difficile de comprendre tout ce que mes professeurs veulent que je fasse.
    Il est compliqué d'expliquer les règles concernant le grammaire français sans qu'on connaisse un peu les règles qui concernent ta propre langue.

    I hope that helps a bit - I'm not sure about the last example, but as a general rule it has served me well.
  13. bmoney Member

    USA English
    I search on to find out whether I should use à or de in the following sentence:

    Est-ce que c'est difficile à or de trouver un logement?

    I found the following examples with de:
    C'est difficile de trouver le sommeil
    C'est difficile de trouver du travail
    C'est difficile de trouver un sujet

    but, I also found examples with à:
    C'est difficile à trouver des gens
    C'est difficile à trouver un logement

    I ended up using à due to the example right above, but it leaves me confused. Is there any rule to differentiate between à and de in such a case? Are the meanings the same?

    Merci mille fois!
  14. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    I won't repeat the great explanations already mentioned above but for me, the last examples are not really correct. It should be:

    C'est difficile de trouver des gens
    C'est difficile de trouver un logement

    C'est difficile à trouver, des gens
    = Des gens, c'est difficile à trouver

    C'est difficile à trouver, un logement
    = Un logement, c'est difficile à trouver

    But it's quite colloquial, which is the most difficult to master ...
  15. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    I am sorry to be so late coming across this point which clever insights were already given about. Cams 18 and Agent litterary give a lot of perfect examples, but I'd like to try to clear it up from another grammatical point of view. Let’s compare these two sentences :

    1- “ C’est difficile à apprendre

    The pronoun “ce” takes the place of a word, like “it”, which has just been used before, as it’s usual when replying :
    “ - Il est indispensable de connaître l’Anglais. – Oui, mais c’est difficile à apprendre. ” Without anything before, I can’t understand what is about. Using the preposition “ à ” only depends on the adjective “difficile” the complement of which is necessary introduced by “à” : “a difficult piece to play” is transated “un morceau (de musique) difficile à jouer”.

    2- “ C’est difficile d’apprendre ”

    This sentence makes sense too, but with another meaning : it’s the same as “apprendre est difficile” ( learning is difficult ), because the structure is different. “il “ or “ce” (possible and usual ) replaces or rather announces what comes after the adjective and “de” doesn’t depend at all on “difficile”, but on the emphasizing structure :

    Il ( C’ ) + est + adjective + de + infinitive ( + …theorically unlimited words ! )

    With any adjective making sense “ de “ is used. It’s right to say that real sentences of this sort are generally longer than this one ; no doubt that saying“ Il est difficile d’apprendre” is not so common than “ Il est difficile d’apprendre le Chinois” ( or “Il n’est pas difficile…” , as you like ); it’s a question of sense, not of grammatical correctness.

    Tu me compliques la tâche, Dear Prudence :) , mais tes exemples sont intéressants et merci de m’avoir signalé la discussion dans ce forum. I’ll add some words about Dear Prudence’s examples which are also interesting. Fluently « Un logement, c’est difficile à trouver » is probably more used than « C’est difficile de trouver un logement » so as to emphasize the subject and I think it is still more emphasized if it is put at the end of the sentence : while hearing the beginning “ C’est difficile à…”, we are wondering what is “ce”. In either case making a pause after or before “un logement” ( or writing a comma ) is quite necessary.

  16. donques Senior Member

    English England
    Might I, without giving offence, comment on J F. de Troyes's post of 8.09?

    Il est indispensable de connaître l'Anglais.-Oui mais il est difficile à
    apprendre. ( It (English) is difficult to learn) Personal sense.

    Il est indespensable de connaître l'Anglais.-Oui mais c'est difficile à
    apprendre. (It is difficult to learn (that English is indispensable)) Impersonal sense.

    With the impersonal use:
    il (c') est + adjective + de + infinitive = Introducing a new idea or statement
    Il est difficile d'apprendre l'Anglais

    c'est +adjective + à + infinitive = referring to a preceding idea or statement.
    Apprendre l'Anglais, c'est difficile à faire

    There are further rules for the personal use Pilsbury, but I think you were asking about impersonal usage. Perhaps someone will start another thread on that.
  17. zonbette Senior Member

    En relisant tous les exemples cités, il me semble que lorsque le verbe qui suit difficile n'a pas de complément on utilise "à", et lorsque le verbe est suivi d'un complément, on utilise "de".
  18. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    I'm sorry to disagree on this point, but Il and C' both refer to l'anglais. The latter sentence isn't more impersonal than the former.
    The impersonal sentence for this is Il/C'est difficile de l'apprendre, which uses de because of the following rule.

    I wouldn't say there is any further rule for personal use. You gave the rule, it works in any case, and is not that difficult.

    When the object of the infinitive stands after difficile (or another adjective like long or dangereux), the preposition de is to be used:
    - C'est difficile d'appendre l'anglais
    - C'est difficile de l'apprendre
    - Je trouve difficile d'apprendre l'anglais

    When if it's before, à is required:
    - L'anglais est difficile à apprendre.
    - C'est difficile à apprendre.
    - Je trouve l'anglais difficile à apprendre

    As DP rightly said, in the confusing examples Bmoney gave, necessary commas were missing for the sentences to be correct.
    Thus, in C'est difficile à trouver, un logement, the object is not un logement but C', which stands before difficile, making the preposition to respect the rule by being à.
  19. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    I agree with this convenient approach, Tilt , and your point of view is efficient, but sentences without any "object" have to be considered as well. They are undoubtedly unusual, but possible without a personal pronoun, and more common with one :

    " Il (Ce ) n'est pas difficile de mentir ".
    " Il (C') est parfois difficile de vivre" .

    " ll lui est difficile de marcher ".
    " Il (ça) m'est toujours agréable de venir ".

    I think such cases could be added to your first rule: " or if the verb is used absolutely " or something like that.
  20. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Let's say intransitively rather than absolutely, and I'm with it. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2013
  21. upenn frenchie Member

    Is the following usage of [de/à] correct?

    (1) Il est difficile À faire.
    (2) Il est difficile DE faire des recherches.

    Basically, is [à] used when there is no direct object, and [de] when there is a direct object? Are there any exceptions to this rule?
  22. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    :thumbsup: Yes, this is correct. :)

    The rule is indeed slightly different: when il (or ce/c') refers to something or somebody, you must use à; when il is impersonal, you must use de.
  23. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Perfectly right, as far as I can say.

    Preferring one or the other may lead to subtle differences. E.g., asking if a puzzle is hard to do:
    - Est-il difficile à faire ? = is it difficult to do?
    - Est-il difficile de le faire ? = is doing it difficult?
  24. brassdragon Member

    English - England
    I don't understand something in french
    I was talking to my friend friend:
    He said you can say:
    Je trouve cela difficile a comprendre
    but you can't say
    Je trouve cela difficile de comprendre >>
    you have to say instead
    je trouve difficile de comprendre + (something)

    Il est possible de m'installer
    but you can't say
    Il est possible a m'installer

    After looking at the first example I'd have thought that 'a' is used when there's nothing else after the infinitive the the second example disproves it.

    The first example is soooo similar but it changes the de and a.

    Is the any way possible to know which one to use?
  25. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Hello Brassdragon :)

    The choice between the prepositions à and de is often difficult for English speakers learning French. This is because more or less, you must simply memorize which preposition is part of which expression/structure.

    There are two separate structures here with "difficile," and they are not grammatically equivalent. As it happens, one requires de and the other requires à. I'm basing this answer on the TLF dictionary entry for difficile.

    1. impersonal expression
    ...a. il est (c'est) difficile de + infinitive phrase saying what is difficult
    ...b. c'est difficile à + infinitive with no phrase, absolute usage.
    2. difficile à + infinitive of a transitive verb

    When you say Je trouve cela difficile à comprendre, you are in case two. You're using difficile à comprendre as an adjective phrase to describe cela. You must use the preposition "à." You're saying, "I find that hard to understand" where "hard to understand" describes "that." You could also say "That's hard to understand" = C'est difficile à comprendre. You would still be using "hard to understand" to describe "that." It is this adjective-like structure that dictates "à" for expressions with difficile.

    When you say Je trouve difficile de comprendre cela, you're really saying a shortened version of Je trouve qu'il est difficile de comprendre cela. This puts you in case one, so you must use the preposition "de." You don't have an adjective phrase describing "that" this time. Instead, you are implying the structure "it is difficult to do X". For this impersonal structure with difficile, you need to use "de."

    You can read more examples in the dictionary link I gave above. :)

    As I said, there is no rule to predict which verbs require de and which ones require à in which situations. Expressions with possible will not necessarily use the same prepositions as expressions with difficile.... though it does happen that the correct expression for impersonal constructions with possible is il est possible de + infinitive phrase saying what is possible. Since each thread should talk about only one expression, please let's not discuss possible here (though you are welcome to open a separate thread, or see here).

    Since the topic in general can be confusing, we've had lots of discussions about it. If you're interested in which preposition to use with a given expression/phrase, try looking it up in the dictionary or on the forums. For example, I have transferred your question into an existing thread about "difficile"... so you might want to read back through the previous posts. :)

    There is also an article in French cited here in our Resources forum...

    I hope it helps!
  26. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    The bottom line is that à refers back to something or someone; de refers ahead to something. The references can be specific or they may be ideas.

    Il est difficile de lire ce roman. [Informally, ce may replace il]
    Oui, il est difficile à lire. [il refers to ce roman]

    Il est facile de se taire quand on n'a rien à dire.
    Oui, c'est facile à faire.

    This extends even to some personal constructions such as mentioned above.

    Je trouve difficile de le comprendre quand il parle allemand.

  27. jacques songo'o Member

    I'm very confused about whether to use à or de after il est/c'est in an impersonal expression. For instance: il est difficile de/à .What are the rules about this? Also is there any difference between using il or c'est as the subject or do both mean the same thing. Any help much appreciated.
  28. melu85 Senior Member

    let's take an example: "it's hard to tell"
    if the verb is not followed by anything, I'd rather use c'est...à > "c'est difficile à dire"

    "it's hard to tell whether he's happy or not"
    if the verb is followed by a clause, I'd use c'est/il > c'est difficile de dire s'il est content ou pas/il est difficile de dire s'il est content ou pas; "il est" sounding a bit more formal than "c'est"

    I don't know if this is a rule but it seems to work.
    does that help?
  29. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    I think it's a bit different:
    Il est dificile de comprendre.
    It's difficult to understand. (understanding is difficlut)

    If you use c'est then you use à:
    C'est facile à comprendre.
    That's easy to understand.

  30. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Really? I'm not so sure in this case...

    It is true that, yes, you do have to simply memorize quite a number of verb + preposition combinations. For example, "chercher à faire quelque chose" but "essayer de faire quelque chose." In this case, the constructions are synonymous (verb, preposition, verb in infinitive form, then maybe direct object). So the preposition choice is simply arbitrary and must be memorized.

    But in the case of "C'est/Il est difficile à/de comprendre.." we actually have a difference construction than verb + arbitrary preposition. Instead, we have "être" + adjective + verb in infinitive. Moreover, depending on the function of this infinitive, we can have two difference senses/meanings going on which in English are sort of blended together because both are conveyed by the word "to." French, however, distinguishes by using either "à" or "de." To put it simply:

    -"à" is used when the infinitive has a passive meaning: C'est difficile à comprendre -- It's difficult to understand / to be understood.Another way to think of it: It's difficult for this ("ça") to be understood.

    "de" is used particularly when the infinitive has some sort of object, such that it therefore no longer has a passive meaning, but rather an active one: Il est difficile de comprendre la grammaire française -- It's difficult to understand French grammar.

    The biggest problem I guess is when there is no explicitly written/spoken object of the infinitive, or "ça" actually receives the action of the verb and is not simply a dummy subject. Compare:

    -C'est difficile à voir -- It (this specific thing, "ça") is difficult to see / to be seen.

    -Il est difficile de voir -- It's difficult to see (in general). In other words, I find it hard to see, where "it" does not refer to any specific "thing" in particular. And the fact that no specific thing is referred to means that "il est" instead of "c'est" is used, but in conversation I think they're both used interchangeably a lot of times.

    I hope that helps. Would also appreciate corrections from natives if I've managed to completely get all this wrong. :D
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2008
  31. shrekspeare

    shrekspeare Senior Member

    South of France
    french and australian english (bilingual)
    (sorry for the missing accents)

    You're absolutely right Brian8733 !

    To put it simply, you'd say "c'est difficile a voir" ou "a comprendre" when you refer to something you've said before (that's what the "a" refers to)
    but you'd say "c'est difficile de voir..." or c'est difficile de comprendre..." when you want to add something. "C'est difficile de voir quelquchose dans ce brouillard" for example.
  32. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)
    Thanks, shrekspeare. :)

    Another example, dealing more with the sentence of this thread:

    -C'est difficile de parler -- It's difficult to speak, e.g. because I have a sore throat.

    -C'est difficile à parler -- It (e.g. French) is difficult to speak. Here you refer to something specific, mentioned before.. the French language. The example above, however, is more general and does not refer to anything particular.
  33. shrekspeare

    shrekspeare Senior Member

    South of France
    french and australian english (bilingual)
    you're right. Except, I wouldn't say "c'est difficile de parler" if I have a sore throat. I could say "c'est difficile de parler avec des cailloux dans la bouche" (though I never tried...) but I'm not sure I'd say "c'est difficile de parler", I think I'd say something like "J'ai du mal a parler" in that case....the French language...
  34. Febreze New Member

    English - England
    Hi, I'm a bit confused about the preposition to use after adjectives like 'difficile' -
    e.g. c'est un probleme difficile __ résoudre.
    Should I use de or a?
  35. arundhati Senior Member

    French - France
    The accent is very important here.
  36. Petite-Belette

    Petite-Belette Senior Member

    Den Haag (The Netherlands)
    French - France
    It depends of the sentence:

    "C'est un problème difficile à résoudre."
    "Il est difficile de résoudre ce problème."
  37. Ryuusei New Member

    English - Australian
    I was doing an online quiz, and I came across this question...

    'L'hôtel est complet ? ________ difficile à croire.'

    I got all the other answers right but I couldnt figure out why the answer to the blank was "C'est".

    It seems like an impersonal expression so wouldn't "Il est" also be appropriate?

    If anyone can give me any other tips with these two constructions, i'd appreciate that.

    Also, i'd like to know if the plural partitive article 'des' and the indefinite 'des' have the same function?

    I have a long way to go in my studies ;p

    Thank you in advance!
  38. arundhati Senior Member

    French - France
    "C'est" must be used for impersonal phrases, so it's needed here.
    However, you could say :
    "Il est difficile d'imaginer que l'hôtel est complet". (you say what "il" refers to in the same sentence).
  39. TitTornade

    TitTornade Senior Member

    "L'hôtel est complet ? Il est difficile à croire:cross:" : If you say this, the pronoun "il" replaces and means "l'hôtel" -> the meaning is not correct... And "il" is not impersonal.

    "L'hôtel est complet ? Ceci est difficile à croire:tick:"
    "L'hôtel est complet ? C'est difficile à croire:tick:" : in this case, "ceci" or "c'" replaces the whole sentence.
    Right ?

    But "C'est difficile à croire" can be constructed in an impersonal way :
    "Il est difficile à croire que l'hôtel est complet :tick:"
    "Il est difficile à croire que l'hôtel soit complet :tick:"
    Here, "il" is an impersonnal subjet and it doesn't work as a pronoun (it replaces nothing)... Right ? The impersonal construction need here the "que".

    NB : in the sentence, the verb after "que" can be in the indicative or subjunctive...
  40. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Surely these cannot be correct. Wouldn't you say:

    Il est difficile DE croire que l'hôtel est/soit complet. ?
  41. TitTornade

    TitTornade Senior Member

    Très bonne question... A laquelle je n'ai pas de réponse.
    Pour moi les deux sont possibles ("à" ou "de").

    Attendons d'autres avis sur la question, même si nous risquons le hors-sujet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2013
  42. itka Senior Member

    Nice, France
    Pour moi, sans hésiter :

    "Il est difficile de croire que l'hôtel est complet :tick:"
    "Il est difficile de croire que l'hôtel soit complet :tick:"

    Quelque chose est difficile à croire.
    Il est difficile de croire quelque chose.
  43. mioute Senior Member

    French - France
    Je suis d'accord avec itka
  44. TitTornade

    TitTornade Senior Member

    Excusez-moi d'insister car je ne suis toujours pas convaincu que j'étais dans l'erreur ;)

    "Que l'hôtel soit complet est difficile à croire !!" C'est correct, non ?
    Et si j'inverse l'ensemble : "Il est difficile à croire que l'hôtel soit complet" ??
    Me trompé-je ? :p
    Est-ce que ma langue est si difficile à parler que je ne sais plus l'utiliser ? :p :p

    Sinon, merci à qui de droit pour le regroupement de "post" :)
  45. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Je crains que oui, tu te trompé-je, car je rejoins Geostan et Itka ! :D
    On ne peut pas toujours, pas souvent, même, changer l'ordre des mots dans une phrase sans en modifier le sens, ou la fonction grammaticale, voire les deux.

    Dans Que l'hôtel soit complet est difficile à croire, nous avons une proposition (Que l'hôtel soit complet) qui est sujet du verbe être. C'est ce que Itka mentionnait en citant le cas Quelque chose est difficile à croire.

    Dans Il est difficile de croire que l'hôtel soit complet, cette même proposition se retrouve complément d'objet direct de croire, ce qui est totalement différent ! (It-cas : Il est difficile de croire quelque chose)

    Pour que la proposition reste, au moins indirectement, le sujet du verbe être tout en passant en fin de phrase, la seule solution est d'écrire C'est difficile à croire, que l'hôtel soit complet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2013
  46. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Pour moi, le à ne peut introduire qu'un COI comme dans :

    Il est difficile à un touriste de croire que l'hôtel est complet.
  47. TitTornade

    TitTornade Senior Member

    C'était justement mon argument suivant ! Mais sans la virgule... ;)

    Sinon, pour information, en tapant "est difficile à croire que" et "est difficile de croire que" sur Google, on trouve ~4 000 occurences pour le premier et ~60 000 occurences pour le second...
    Ca me rassure, je ne suis pas le seul qui emploierait cette tournure... erronée ? :p :p
  48. poliphili

    poliphili Senior Member

    Oxford, OH

    I am a bit confused on a grammar point having to do with these prepositions.

    Let's say that a friend says to me : "Je ne peux pas préparer de la mousse au chocolat. C'est trop difficile."

    Can I reply either...

    "Mais non. C'est facile à préparer."
    "Mais non. C'est facile de la préparer."


    If possible can you explain the rule behind the change in preposition?


  49. Tim~!

    Tim~! Senior Member

    Leicester, UK
    UK — English
    Off the top of my head, I'm sure that the issue depends on whether you have a direct object involved.

    If you came to my house and were hungry you might ask me "As-tu quelquechose à boire?" (No direct object of boire, just the infinitive on its own.)

    However, you might decline my offer of a cup of tea because it's a hot day and you need something cool. "Non, merci. C'est difficile de boire du thé quand il fait si chaud dehors." (There's a direct object du thé following boire.)

    Looking back at your examples, I see that there is no direct object in the first example, just the infinitive.

    In the second there is a direct object, although we shouldn't allow the fact that it's placed before the verb to fool us; we know that the fuller sentence is really "Mais non. C'est facile de préparer de la mousse au chocolat."
  50. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France - français
    "je ne peux pas préparer de mousse..."
    Je préfère "c'est facile à..." d'autant que, avec "de", il serait plus correct d'employer "en"

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