"I have to think of my children."
Translation:Je dois penser à mes enfants.
Yes, thank you for all of your help. I have gotten so that I just scroll down and look for what Sitesurf has to say on any page :)
I'm really struggling with getting this solid in my head. I get it wrong every time. I still don't understand the difference between the two sample sentences you used here. Why is "de" used in the second sentence, and "à" used in the first when they both mean "of" in these cases?
There is no reason other than the random construction of verbs + various prepositions.
Think for example about different constructions in English: I think of my children vs I talk to my children. Different verbs, different prepositions.
In French, it is the same, some verbs are constructed with "à", others with "de". The only thing you can do is try to practice them in short sentences you would learn by heart, maybe with tips of your own?
Both penser à and penser de can usually be translated as "to think about." The problem is that this English phrase has two different meanings.
Penser à means "to think about" in the sense of "to have in one's mind, to consider, to think over."
Penser de, on the other hand, means "to think about" in the sense of "to have an opinion about."
French infinitives are one word only "penser" = "to think".
But a limited number of verbs can directly get an infinitive without a preposition to link them:
- aimer/aimer mieux, aller, compter, croire, daigner, devoir, entendre, espérer, faire, falloir, (s')imaginer, laisser, oser, penser, pouvoir, prétendre, savoir, sembler, sentir, valoir mieux, venir, voir and vouloir.
"avoir" is not one of them. "I have to think" can have a translation using "avoir", but it needs preposition "à": J'ai à penser à mes enfants.