Chercher – to look for

Chercher - French verb
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French Verb Seek

The regular -er French verb chercher generally means "to look for" something or "to try to" do something.

Chercher + noun = to look for, search for, seek

Elle cherche un emploi à plein temps.   She’s searching for a full-time job.
Je cherche mon livre de français.   I’m looking for my French book.

 When chercher is followed by a noun, the idea of that objective is built right into the verb, so it is never followed by the preposition "pour."

However, when chercher is followed by an infinitive, the preposition à is required between the two verbs.

Chercher à + infinitive = to try, attempt to

Il cherche à finir avant midi.   He’s trying to finish before noon.
Nous cherchons à battre le record du monde.   We’re attempting to break the world record.

Chercher + noun / pronoun + qui + verb

The verb chercher is unusual in that it can be followed by three different verb moods in order to express three different nuances.

1. Indicative mood: expresses certainty that the person or thing exists.

Il cherche quelqu’un qui a vu l’accident.   He’s looking for someone who saw the accident.
(He knows there’s a witness)
Je cherche une salle qui est disponible.   I’m looking for an available room.
(I know there is one.)

2. Subjunctive mood: indicates that the speaker doesn’t know that the person or thing exists or, alternatively, whether s/he / it can be found.

Il cherche quelqu’un qui ait vu l’accident.   He’s looking for someone who saw the accident.
(He doesn’t know if there’s a witness.)
Je cherche une salle qui soit disponible.   I’m looking for an available room.
(There may or may not be one.)

Note that these the nuance is clear in French thanks to the verb mood, whereas the English translations are identical and need additional information to make the distinction clear.

3. Conditional mood: expresses hope that the person or thing exists and that s/he / it can be found.

Il cherche quelqu’un qui aurait vu l’accident.   He’s looking for someone who saw the accident.
(He’s hoping there’s a witness.)
Je cherche une salle qui serait disponible.   I’m looking for an available room.
(I hope I can find one.)

Cherher in idiomatic expressions

Chercher is also found in many idiomatic expressions, including

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

Chercher - to look for
Stay up to date with Lawless French!
Twitter Facebook Quora Instagram Pinterest YouTube RSS Newsletter
Quora

Any Questions?

 Get help on the forum.
  
 

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.
       

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.