À vs De with Verbs

À vs de - French prepositionsThe prepositions à and de are found in many verbal constructions that look very similar, but the choice of preposition makes all the difference.


Aimer – to like, to love

Aimer - French verbThe regular -er verb aimer is ubiquitous and very useful, but somehow means both "to like" and "to love." In some contexts, this can make a world of difference as you certainly don't want to tell someone you love them when you're just friends, so how can you make it clear how you feel?


Aller – to go

Aller - to go - French verbAller is one of the most common and useful French verbs and has irregular conjugations in most tenses and moods. Aller literally means "to go" and is required to create the near future.



Avoir – to have

Avoir - to have - French verbAvoir is one of the two most important French verbs and has irregular conjugations in just about every tense and mood. Avoir literally means "to have" but also serves an an auxiliary verb and is found in many idiomatic expressions.



Croire – to believe

Croire - to believeCroire literally means "to believe" but has somewhat varying meanings depending on the preposition used. Learn the difference between croire à and croire en, plus other uses of croire.


Devoir – must, to have to

Devoir - French verbDevoir is a very common French verb with irregular conjugations and an unusual relationship to some of its English equivalents. Devoir has several meanings related to obligation, supposition, and expectation.


Devoir vs Falloir

Devoir vs falloir - French verbsDevoir and falloir are fairly synonymous, but these two French verbs are not interchangeable. Their meanings are slightly different, and they each have additional meanings, depending on how they're used.



Dire – to say, to tell

Dire - French verbDire is one of the most common and useful French verbs and has irregular conjugations. It literally means "to say" or "to tell," and is also found in many idiomatic expressions.


Essentially Pronominal Verbs

French pronominal verbsTwo dozen French verbs always require a reflexive pronoun but aren't necessarily reflexive or reciprocal. These "essentially pronominal" verbs can only be used pronominally, as without the pronoun, the verb is meaningless.


Être – to be

Être - to beÊtre is one of the two most important French verbs. It literally means "to be," but also serves as an auxiliary verb and is the key to the passive voice.


Faillir – to almost do

J'ai failli pleurerFaillir has no direct verbal English equivalent when used as a semi-auxiliary verb; English needs an adverb or a short phrase to capture the meaning, such as "to almost do."


Faire – Causative Construction

French causative constructionThe causative is a grammatical construction with a lazy subject who, rather than performing some action himself, is making someone or something else do it: to make something happen, to have something done.