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infinitive verbs and "à"

Hi all, I've just started the infinitive verbs unit and I'm a bit confused. Maybe someone can shed some light on this issue - are there some verbs that you use "à" with and some that you don't? Or does it depend on the context?

I mean, for example (I hope my spelling is correct!) -

These are two sentences from the first lesson: "elle demande à voir son fils" "je veux pouvoir manger"

If I want to say that she she demands to be able to eat, will it be "demande pouvoir" or "demande à pouvoir" and why.

Thanks!

4 years ago

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/panagiotists
panagiotists
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When there are two verbs in use for example I want to eat--je veux manger then the second verb is in the infinitive form.Most infinitives end in er,ir and re.Some verbs require to use the à preposition before the second verb.Some of these verbs are demander (ask,require) (je demande quelqu'un à faire quelque chose),commencer (start),and some others.You can see this: http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa032301.htm

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/georgeoftruth
georgeoftruth
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Some French verbs require a preposition (à or de) when followed by an infinitive. The best way to remember them is by memorizing. Here's a short list.

Verbs using à:

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_a_2.htm

Verbs using de

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_de_2.htm

As for the verb 'demander,' it should be in the 'de' list above. There is, however, a subtle difference between 'demander à' and 'demander de.' I usually use "demander de faire quelque chose" when an infinitive (here, it's faire) follows 'demander.' A person (quelqu'un) usually follows 'demander à.' This link is my reference:

http://www.wordreference.com/fren/demander

I am not quite sure how to explain "Elle demande à voir son fils" because I would actually use "de" in this case.

EDIT: After a bit of searching, I see now that "demander de" means to ask someone to do something, while "demander à" means to request or to ask for permission to be able to do something.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/liorv

Great, thanks!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/earthkissed
earthkissed
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yes some verbs require a preposition afterwards... english is actually the exact same way, you just may not have noticed it before. for example, in english after the verb look usually requires the preposition of "at". you don't look something, you look AT something. unfortunately the verbs in french and english that need prepositions after are not usually the same, so unlike in english, in french you don't "regarde à" something, its just "regarde." so in english "i look at the girl" but in french "je regarde la fille." but in french, "je demande à la serveuse de me donner un menu", but in english "i ask the waitress to give me a menu." since the verbs requiring prepositions afterward are different between languages, you just have to memorize them. but if you make a mistake you will be understood anyway, your sentence will just sound strange.

4 years ago