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Help with these French sentences: Écoute ta mère Parle à ta mère


-Écoute ta mère -Parle à ta mère

Why is there an à (I assume meaning to) when using the verb Parler but not for ecouter????

Is there any type of rule? Why are they different?

Thank you

August 4, 2017



To put it simply:

écouter = to listen to
parler = to speak
parler à = to talk/speak to
parler de = to talk about
devoir = to have to
se souvenir de = to remember

Learn the prepositions together with the verbs. Just because a preposition follows a verb in one language doesn't mean it also happens in the other.


I'm not sure it will help, but if you encounter a situation in which you're not sure whether you have to use a preposition or not, you could use the question technique : Ask a question to retrieve the object.

If you use "who", then don't use a preposition. If you use "whose" or "whom" use a preposition.

In your example :

WHO do you have to listen to ? Your mother. / WHOM are you talking to ? Your mother [Whom = à qui, contrary to English speakers with the -m in whom, French speakers haven't dropped the "à" in "à qui"]

Who do you listen to/Qui écoutes-tu ? = no preposition = Ecoute ta mère

Whom are you talking to/A qui parles-tu ? = preposition = Parle à ta mère

It seems to work when the object is a person but, unfortunately, it doesn't work when the object is a "what".

Here is a link towards an explanation in French with French interrogative pronouns, which always work (However, you'll see that French students use this method for a different purpose and already know when there is a preposition and when there is not). http://www.francaisfacile.com/exercices/exercice-francais-2/exercice-francais-4742.php

(Otherwise, yes, you'll have to learn the prepositions together with the verbs.)


thank you very much !!


It's a hard subject for me too. The difficulty is definitely increased by the lack of logic here... it's simply memorization. Appeler quelqu'un, telephoner à quelqu'un, for example. I recently made a thread on this too, with some useful links inside. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23466162

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