Verbs with à

French verbs requiring a preposition

French verbs with prepositions
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A number of French verbs require the preposition à in front of a noun or infinitive.

Verbs + à + noun

acheter à to buy from
arracher à to grab, tear away from
aller à to suit (someone)
assister à (la réunion) to attend (the meeting)
s’attendre à to expect (something)
conseiller à to advise
convenir à qqun / qqch to please, be suitable for s.o. / s.t.
croire à to believe something
défendre à to forbid
se délecter à to take delight in
demander (qqch) à qqun to ask someone (something)
déplaire à to displease / be displeasing to
désobéir à to disobey
dire à qqun to say / tell
donner qqch à qqun to give someone something
écrire à quelqu’un to write to someone
emprunter qqch à qqun to borrow something from s.o.
envoyer qqch à qqun to send something to someone
être à to belong to
faire attention à to pay attention to
faire confiance à to trust (someone)
faire mal à to hurt
faillir à to fail in / at / to
se fier à (quelqu’un) to trust (someone)
goûter à quelque chose to taste something
s’habituer à to get used to
interdire (qqch) à qqun to forbid someone (something)
s’intéresser à to be interested in
jouer à to play (a game or sport)
manquer à to miss someone
mêler à to mingle with / to join in
nuire à to harm
obéir à to obey
s’opposer à to oppose
ordonner à to order
pardonner à to pardon, forgive
parler à to talk to
penser à to think of / about
permettre à to permit
plaire à to please / be pleasing to
prendre garde à to be careful of, watch out for
procurer à quelqu’un to obtain for someone
profiter à to benefit / be profitable to
promettre à to promise
raconter à qqun to tell someone
rappeler à to remind (someone)
réfléchir à to consider / reflect upon
rendre visite à quelqu’un to visit someone
répondre à to answer
reprocher à to criticize
résister à to resist
ressembler à to resemble
réussir à l’examen to pass the test
rêver à to imagine, dream of
serrer la main à quelqu’un to shake hands with someone
servir à to be used for/as
songer à to dream / think of
sourire à to smile at
succéder à to succeed, follow
survivre à to survive
téléphoner à to call
voler (qqch) à qqun to steal (something) from someone

 Replacing à + noun

À plus an inanimate noun can be replaced by the adverbial pronoun y.

J’ai répondu à la question.
 J’y ai répondu.
I answered the question.
 I answered it.

À plus a person can usually be replaced by an indirect object pronoun.

J’ai parlé à David.
 Je lui ai parlé.
 I talked to David.
 I talked to him.

 However, some verbs / expressions don’t allow this replacement, instead requiring that the preposition be kept after the verb, followed by a stressed pronoun.

J’ai pensé à David.
 J’ai pensé à lui.
I thought about David.
 I thought about him.

Verbs + à + infinitive

Note that this construction may be equivalent to an English infinitive (e.g., to do) or a gerund (doing).

aider à to help to
s’amuser à to amuse oneself ___-ing
apprendre à to learn how to
s’apprêter à to get ready to
arriver à to manage / succeed in ___-ing
aspirer à to aspire/yearn to
astreindre (qqun) à to compel / force (someone) to
s’attendre à to expect to
s’autoriser à to authorize / allow to
avoir à to have to / be obliged to
chercher à to attempt to
commencer à* to start to / ___-ing
consentir à to consent to
continuer à* to continue to / ___-ing
contraindre (qqun) à to force / compel (someone) to
décider (quelqu’un) à to persuade (someone) to
se décider à to make up one’s mind to
encourager à to encourage to
s’engager à to get around to
enseigner à to teach to
s’épuiser à to exhaust oneself ___-ing
forcer à to force  to
s’habituer à to get used to
hésiter à to hesitate to
s’intéresser à to be interested in
inviter (quelqu’un) à to invite (someone) to
se mettre à to start, set about ___-ing
obliger (qqun) à to oblige/force (someone) to
parvenir à to succeed in ___-ing
passer du temps à to spend time ___-ing
perdre du temps à to waste time ___-ing
persister à to persist in ___-ing
se plaire à to take pleasure in ___-ing
pousser (quelqu’un) à to urge/push (someone) to
prendre garde à to be careful to
se préparer à to prepare oneself to
rechigner à to grudge ___-ing
recommencer à to begin ___-ing again
réfléchir à to consider ___-ing
renoncer à to give up ___-ing
se résigner à to become resigned to ___-ing
résister à to resist ___-ing
réussir à to succeed in ___-ing
servir à to serve to
songer à to dream of ___-ing
tarder à to delay / be late in ___-ing
tenir à to hold (someone) to / insist on ___-ing
venir à to happen to

* Can also be followed by de with exactly the same meaning – see Verbs with à and / or de.

  Also see Passive infinitive

 Related lessons

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French verbs with à

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6 Responses

  1. Joseph Kearney 23 May 2018 / 9:45

    Hi, I recently got my head around unmodified nouns with verbs fixed by de. Do verbs fixed by à have the same rule with unmodified nouns? Thank you

    • lkl 25 May 2018 / 11:15

      No, they don’t. Verbs that need à are typically followed by modified nouns.

  2. Žydrūnas Gira 7 November 2017 / 18:02

    Wow, this is overwhelming! This is why I tend to struggle with prepositions so much! Over the time, I started to notice that some words tend to be most of the time followed with the same prepositions. That’s why an idea to create a list comes naturally to mind. I appreciate your work collecting all those pesky adjectives / verbs and their prepositions!

    • Terra 18 April 2018 / 18:54

      As someone who struggles with prepositions, I noticed there are seven instances in which the same verb + preposition combination appears under both the infinitive and noun lists:
      s’habituer à
      s’interesser à
      (se) plaire à
      réflechir à
      resister à
      servir à
      songer à
      I would have thought it would be one or the other. Could you please expand on the reason they are in both lists?

      • lkl 19 April 2018 / 11:32

        These 7 verbs can be followed by a noun or an infinitive; either way they need à.

        Par exemple :

        Je m’habitue à ce bruit – I’m getting used to this noise.
        Je m’habitue à travailler tous les jours – I’m getting used to working every day.

        • Terra 19 April 2018 / 15:35

          Thanks for the helpful response 🙂