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  5. "Il veut un livre à lire."

"Il veut un livre à lire."

Translation:He wants a book to read.

March 14, 2013



Why do you need the à in that sentence?


Simple explanation: the object interrupts the modal verb and the infinitive, so you have to mark it with 'à'. Happens with all Romance languages because Latin prefers not to separate verb elements.

If you say "Il veut lire un livre" you don't have to add the 'à'.


Yes, but that sentence has a subtly different meaning than the one above. Your sentence here would mean "He wants to read a book", which is not the same as the original sentence "He wants a book to read". This sentence would be used when somebody is about to leave for the library, and one asks, "why is he leaving?" Answer: "he wants a book to read (and so he's going to the library to get one)".

Whereas your sentence is more appropriate when you see somebody walking away to sit down with a book already in her hand, and one asks "what does she want to do now?" Answer: "she wants to read a book (and so she's going to sit down to read the one in her hand)". You would not say "She wants a book to read", because she already has one in her hand.

I hope that was not too confusing, but I felt that we need to distinguish between these two sentences


I don't think there was a suggestion that it meant the same thing, only that it was a case that demonstrates those two verbs working together without à.


So is a used instead of de, because there is a specific object?


excellent reference, although my brain hurts at the thought of trying to remember it all


I would like this answered as well.


it is right also "He wants to read a book"


why does veut sound like eur - get a decent voice recording to us a chance!!!!!¬


Likewise ami! I kept hearing "eur" and was contemplating HARD on what the word could be lol!


I heard this on the slow version and missed it ... but on replaying the faster version I think I can hear the 'v' in 'veut' ... maybe report the slow version and they'll look into changing it?


Why the translation "He wants to read a book" is marked as incorrect?


Because I think that would be "Il veut lire un livre". These are two different sentences. The first sentence ( at least in English) would be used about somebody who is not in possession of a book, but they want to have one to read. The second one (your sentence) is more general, about somebody who just wants to read (a book). I'm sorry if this doesn't explain it properly...it is very subtle, but they are still two different meanings in English.


How do you know when to use "à" ou "pour" before a verb? Pour example: In another lesson there was "Je vais au magasin pour acheter des baguettes." And now this one: "Il veut un livre à lire." I'm sure the answer is in front of me, but I am having trouble seeing it.


good question, anyone else gives any advice?


As a beginner I also find this confusing. This is a good site to begin to get the basics: http://french.about.com/library/prepositions/bl_prep_verbs.htm

Bonne chance !


Sounds like: "Il a un livre à lire."


Why can't you say It wants a book to read?


I guess because "it" doesn't really sound right... I mean, it is a word used for inanimate objects and animals (other than humans). And "he" or "she" is used to describe human beings. And, as far as I know, animals/inanimate objects can't read.


Sounded like eu not veut, came across badly


Why is it so quick ?

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