Avoir du mal à

Avoir du mal
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French Expression

Meaning to have trouble, difficulty (doing)
Literally to have some bad (doing)
Register normal
Pronunciation [ah vwar du mah lah]
IPA   [a vwaʁ dy ma la]

Usage notes: The French phrase avoir du mal à is followed by an infinitive to indicate that a person has or is having trouble doing something.

Par exemple…

Il a du mal à conduire la nuit.   He has trouble driving at night.
J’ai du mal à comprendre cette décision.   I’m having trouble understanding this decision.

If an activity has already been mentioned, à + infinitive can be dropped.

Je veux trouver un meilleur emploi mais j’ai du mal.   I want to find a better job but I’m having trouble (finding one).
Jeannot a déjà choisi un jouet mais Anny a du mal.   Jeannot has already chosen a toy but Anny is having trouble (choosing).

Variation: avoir du mal avec + noun – to have trouble with (the neighbors, a dog, one’s job, etc)

 Related lessons

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Avoir du mal à conduire la nuit

Synonym: avoir des difficultés à + infinitive | avec + noun

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