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  5. When we include "to"


When we include "to"

"We sometimes listen to the radio" = nous ecoutons parfois la radio

why is it not: nous ecoutons parfois a la radio?

ecoutons = listen to ? ecouter = to listen ?

sorry, getting a little confused with grammar like english hahah


May 12, 2020



Some verbs in French means a whole phrase in English and don't need additional prepositions in French. For example:

J'écoute la radio. - I listen to the radio. And not 'à la radio'.

écouter - to listen to

attendre - to wait for

chercher - to look for

regarder - to look at.

For these types of verbs, we don't need additional prepositions like pour or à.


ohhh i see, thank you so much! i understand now :)


écouter - to listen to

attendre - to wait for

chercher - to look for

regarder - to look at.

It is worth noting that when we use those Latinate words in English we don't use a preposition before the object either.

Je cherche mon argent = I seek my money.
Je regarde le tableau = I regard the tableau.
J'attends mon voisin = I await my neighbor.

It's just that we commonly use Germanic words for each of those concepts, and those require prepositions. (I look for my money, I look at the tableau, I wait for my neighbor.) Await and seek are exceptions because they have germanic origins but do not require a preposition.

I left écouter off the list because we don't encounter it often in English outside clinical settings, but we also have a cognate for that one: auscultate, which comes from the same route as écouter. Mostly it gets used in the noun form, as in "The patient's lungs were examined by auscultation" but we can also use it as a verb: Nurses and physicians auscultate the lungs and heart of a patient by using a stethoscope placed on the back. In this case we would not use a preposition between "auscultate" and "the lungs." When speaking to a patient a physician would likely use the germanic word "listen", which requires a preposition, but in peer-reviewed manuscripts, the latinate word "auscultate" is frequently encountered.

In general, I have noticed that when a Spanish or French verb does not use a preposition immediately thereafter, the English version of that word does not either. When you choose a synonym of German origin, then the preposition become necessary. There are exceptions, of course. :)


'ecouter' means both 'to listen' and 'to listen to'.

Just like 'savoir' means both 'to know' and 'to know how'.

There are also many more

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