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In French, some verbs are followed by the prepositions "à" (je cherche à comprendre) or "de" (J'évite de comprendre), others by nothing (je veux comprendre). Here is the list of common French verbs + the preposition à.

I looked all over the place for an explanation, some sort of rule or logic, but couldn’t find anything, and couldn’t figure it out myself (if you do know something, please don’t hesitate to share it with all of us and post a comment. So, there seems to be no other way than to learn them by heart.

Watch out that, you cannot translate from English : the English verb construction may not use a preposition at all. So these verbs need to be memorized in French.

Below, I’ll list common verbs (there are more…) followed by à + infinitive in French, and verbs followed by à + noun.

List of Common French Verbs Followed by the Preposition à + Verb

To make it clearer, I’ll use “faire quelque chose” as my second verb, but you could replace it by any other infinitive that makes sense.

  • aider à faire quelque chose  –  to help to do something
  • apprendre à faire quelque chose  –  to learn how to do something
  • arriver à faire quelque chose  –  to manage / succeed in doing something
  • avoir à faire quelque chose  –  to have to / be obliged to do something
  • chercher à faire quelque chose –  to attempt to do something
  • commencer à faire quelque chose  –  to begin to do something
  • continuer à faire quelque chose  –  to continue to do something
  • consentir à faire quelque chose – to agree to do something
  • se décider à faire quelque chose  –  to make up one’s mind to do something
  • encourager quelqu’un à faire quelque chose  –  to encourage someone to do something
  • s’habituer à faire quelque chose  –  to get used to doing something
  • hésiter à faire quelque chose  –  to hesitate to do something
  • inviter (quelqu’un) à faire quelque chose  –  to invite (someone) to do something
  • se mettre à faire quelque chose  –  to start doing something
  • obliger (quelqu’un) à faire quelque chose  –  to force (someone) to do something
  • parvenir à faire quelque chose  –  to succeed in doing something
  • passer du temps à faire quelque chose  –  to spend time doing
  • perdre du temps à faire quelque chose  –  to waste time doing
  • persister à faire quelque chose  –  to persist in doing
  • pousser (quelqu’un) à faire quelque chose  –  to push someone to do something
  • se préparer à faire quelque chose  –  to prepare oneself to do something
  • recommencer à faire quelque chose  –  to begin doing something again
  • renoncer à faire quelque chose  –  to give up doing something
  • résister à faire quelque chose  –  to resist doing
  • réussir à faire quelque chose  –  to succeed in doing
  • servir à faire quelque chose  –  to be used to do something
  • tenir à faire quelque chose  –  to insist on doing something
  • s’amuser à faire quelque chose – to have fun doing something
  • s’attendre à faire quelque chose – to expect doing something
  • s’autoriser à faire quelque chose  –  to allow oneself to do something
  • s’habituer à faire quelque chose – to get used to doing something
  • s’intéresser à quelque chose – to show a special interest in something

List of Common French Verbs + Preposition à + Noun

To make it easier, I’ll use “Pierre” as my noun.

Note that these verbs will be followed by a indirect object (à Pierre), so it’s a good idea to drill, do flash cards with these verbs and French indirect object pronouns (je lui achète, nous leur conseillons etc…)

  • acheter à Pierre – to buy from Pierre
  • arracher à – to tear away from Pierre
  • conseiller à Pierre – to advise Pierre
  • demander à Pierre – to ask Pierre
  • défendre à Pierre – to forbid Pierre
  • désobéir à Pierre – to disobey Pierre
  • dire à Pierre – to tell Pierre
  • donner à Pierre – to give (to) Pierre
  • écrire à Pierre – to write to Pierre
  • emprunter à Pierre – to borrow from Pierre
  • envoyer à Pierre – to send (to) Pierre
  • être à – to belong to Pierre
  • faire attention à Pierre – to pay attention to Pierre/ be careful with Pierre
  • goûter à la confiture – to taste the jam
  • s’habituer à Pierre – to get used to Pierre
  • interdire à Pierre – to forbid Pierre
  • s’intéresser à Pierre – to be interested by Pierre
  • jouer à – to play (a game or sport), example “jouer au tennis”
  • obéir à Pierre – to obey Pierre
  • s’opposer à Pierre – to oppose Pierre
  • ordonner à Pierre – to order Pierre
  • pardonner à Pierre – to forgive Pierre
  • parler à Pierre – to talk to Pierre
  • penser à Pierre – to think about Pierre
  • permettre à Pierre – to allow Pierre
  • plaire à Pierre – to please Pierre
  • profiter à Pierre – to benefit Pierre
  • promettre à Pierre – to promise Pierre
  • réfléchir à – to consider / reflect upon, example “réfléchir au problème”
  • répondre à Pierre – to answer Pierre
  • résister à Pierre – to resist Pierre
  • ressembler à Pierre – to look like Pierre
  • réussir à l’examen – to pass the test
  • serrer la main à Pierre – to shake hands with Pierre
  • servir à Pierre – to be useful for Pierre
  • téléphoner à Pierre – to call Pierre
  • voler (quelque chose) à Pierre – to steal (something) from Pierre

If you know more COMMON French verbs followed by à preposition + verb in the infinitive or noun, kindly leave a comment below, or contact me, and I’ll add them to the list. Merci!

You may also enjoy learning about French prepositions of place used with countries and regions

And here is the list of French verbs followed by “de” + infinitive

And the one of verbs followed by no preposition at all

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Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 20 years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Most of my audiobooks are recorded at several speeds to help you conquer the modern French language. Good luck with your studies and remember, repetition is the key!

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