Infinitive after Certain Verbs

The infinitive is most often used as the complement of another verb. Some verbs are followed immediately by the infinitive and do not require a preposition. These may be categorized as follows:

Verbs of motion and perception. For example:

  • Je le regarde travailler. (I watch him work.)
  • Nous les entendons crier. (We hear them shouting.)
  • Elle voit ses enfants jouer. (She sees her children playing.)

The verbs most often used this way are:

  • apercevoir (to notice)
  • écouter (to listen)
  • entendre (to hear)
  • paraître (to appear)
  • regarder (to watch)
  • voir (to see)

Verbs indicating thought or most declarative verbs. For example:

  • Il espère pouvoir venir. (He hopes to be able to come.)
  • Elle nie connaître ce garçon. (She denies knowing that boy.)

The verbs most often used this way are:

  • affirmer (to affirm)
  • croire (to believe)
  • espérer (to hope)
  • nier (to deny)

Other common verbs:

  • Je préfère lire. (I prefer reading.)
  • Il faut écouter attentivement. (It is necessary to listen attentively.)

The verbs most often used this way are:

  • aimer mieux (to prefer)
  • aller (to go)
  • compter (to intend)
  • désirer (to desire)
  • devoir (to have to)
  • envoyer (to send)
  • faire (to make, to do)
  • falloir (to be necessary)
  • laisser (to allow, to let)
  • oser (to dare)
  • pouvoir (to be able to)
  • préférer (to prefer)
  • savoir (to know)
  • sembler (to seem)
  • souhaiter (to wish)
  • valoir mieux (to be worth)
  • vouloir (to wish, to want)