Penser – to think

Penser - to think
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Thinking French Verb

The regular -er verb penser, "to think," is ubiquitous and very useful, but can also be a little tricky when it comes to prepositions.

Penser = to think

Penser is used just like "to think."

Par exemple…

Je pense, donc je suis.   I think, therefore I am.
Il pense que tu as raison.   He thinks you’re right.
Pensez-vous qu’elle le sache ?   Do you think she knows?

 Penser que + indicative or subjunctive?

Penser + infinitive

Penser followed directly by an infinitive means "to intend / plan to" or "to hope to":

Je pense partir avant la fin.   I’m planning to leave before the end.
Nous pensons voyager cet été.   We’re hoping to travel this summer.

Penser à

In front of a noun, penser à means "to think about" as in "to consider, have on one’s mind":

Je pense à mes enfants.   I’m thinking about my children.
Nous pensons à Paris pour cet été.   We’re thinking about Paris for this summer, thinking about going to Paris this summer.

The noun may be implied:

À quoi tu penses ?   What are you thinking about?
Pensez-y.   Think about it, Consider it.

 Remember: à + noun can be replaced by the adverbial pronoun y.

Penser à plus an infinitive means "to have in mind to" or "to remember to":

Je pense à partir avant la fin.   I’m considering leaving before the end.
Pense à acheter les billets.   Remember to buy the tickets.

Penser de

With a noun, penser de means "to think about" in the sense of "having an opinion on":

Qu’est-ce que tu penses de ce livre ?   What do you think about this book?
Nous ne savons pas ce qu’il pense de Paris.   We don’t know what he thinks about Paris.

 Remember: de + noun can be replaced by the adverbial pronoun en.

Qu’en pensez-vous ?   What do you think (about it)?
Je me demande ce qu’elle en pense.   I wonder what she thinks about it.

Penser de plus an infinitive means "to have an opinion about doing" or "to consider doing":

Qu’est-ce que tu penses de partir tôt ?   What do you think / How do you feel about leaving early?
Nous pensons d’aller à Paris cet été.   We’re thinking about going to Paris this summer.

 Related lessons

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French verb penser

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