Infinitive after Certain Prepositions

The infinitive is used after all prepositions but en, which takes the present participle, and après, which is followed by the past infinitive. Par expresses “by” when followed by the verbs commencer or finir. Pour expresses “in order to” when followed by the infinitive:

Il parle sans réfléchir. (He speaks without thinking.)

Elle commence par danser. (She begins by dancing.)

Ils finissent par rire. (They end up laughing.)

Il faut souffrir pour réussir. (It is necessary to suffer to succeed.)

Many verbs require the preposition à before the infinitive. These include verbs showing tendency, yearning, and aim. For example:

  • Je m'attends à gagner. (I expect to win.)
  • Elle tarde à arriver. (She is late in arriving.)

The verbs most often used this way are:

  • s'accoutumer à (to become accustomed to)
  • aider à (to help)
  • s'amuser à (to have fun by)
  • apprendre à (to teach)
  • arriver à (to succeed in)
  • s'attendre à (to expect)
  • autoriser à (to authorize)
  • avoir à (to have to)
  • chercher à (to seek)
  • commencer à (to begin)
  • consentir à (to consent)
  • continuer à (to continue)
  • se décider à (to decide)
  • se disposer à (to be disposed)
  • encourager à (to encourage)
  • enseigner à (to teach)
  • s'habituer à (to become accustomed to)
  • hésiter à (to hesitate)
  • inciter à (to incite)
  • s'intéresser à (to be interested in)
  • inviter à (to invite)
  • se mettre à (to begin)
  • persister à (to persist)
  • renoncer à (to renounce)
  • réussir à (to succeed in)
  • songer à (to think about)
  • tarder à (to delay, to be late in)
  • tenir à (to be anxious)

Most verbs require the preposition de before the infinitive. These include verbs of asking, permitting, and forbidding. For example:

  • Elle a oublié de me téléphoner. (She forgot to call me.)
  • Ils refusent de travailler. (They refuse to work.)

Verbs most commonly used this way are:

  • accuser de (to accuse)
  • s'agir de (to be a question of)
  • s'arrêter de (to stop)
  • blâmer de (to blame)
  • cesser de (to stop)
  • complimenter de (to compliment)
  • convenir de (to be fitting)
  • craindre de (to fear)
  • décider de (to decide)
  • défendre de (to forbid)
  • demander de (to ask)
  • se dépêcher de (to hurry)
  • dire de (to tell)
  • écrire de (to write)
  • s'efforcer de (to strive)
  • empêcher de (to prevent)
  • essayer de (to try to)
  • éviter de (to avoid)
  • féliciter de (to congratulate)
  • finir de (to finish)
  • menacer de (to threaten)
  • mériter de (to deserve)
  • négliger de (to neglect)
  • s'occuper de (to take care of)
  • offrir de (to offer)
  • ordonner de (to order)
  • oublier de (to forget to)
  • parler de (to speak about)
  • permettre de (to permit)
  • persuader de (to persuade)
  • promettre de (to promise)
  • proposer de (to propose)
  • rappeler de (to remind)
  • recommander de (to recommend)
  • refuser de (to refuse)
  • regretter de (to regret)
  • remercier de (to thank)
  • reprocher de (to reproach)
  • rêver de (to dream)
  • se souvenir de (to remember)
  • suggérer de (to suggest)
  • venir de (to have just)

Some verbs require à ( quelqu'un) de before an infinitive where quelqu'un can be replaced by the name of a person, a noun, or a pronoun which refers to a person. For example:

  • Il demande à son fils de laver la voiture. (He asks his son to wash the car.)
  • Je promets à mon amie de garder son secret. (I promise my friend to keep her secret.)

The most common verbs of this type are:

  • commander (to order)
  • conseiller (to advise)
  • défendre (to forbid)
  • demander (to ask)
  • dire (to tell)
  • écrire (to write)
  • interdire (to forbid)
  • ordonner (to order)
  • permettre (to permit)
  • promettre (to promise)
  • suggérer (to suggest)