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French grammar - Verbs + preposition à + infinitive

Verbs + preposition à + infinitive

There are many French verbs that require a preposition between itself and the second verb.

Many prepositions are used but in this topic we will look at verbs with à.

Examples of common verbs that take à include:

apprendre à - 'to learn to'

commencer à - 'to start to'

continuer à - 'to continue to'

s'épuiser à - 'to exhaust oneself (doing)'

s'habituer à - 'to get used to'

se préparer à - 'to prepare to'

réussir à - 'to succeed at (doing)'

participer à - 'to participate (doing)'

And there are several others in the examples.

Examples:
Ma fille est en train d'apprendre à nager.
My daughter is learning to swim.

apprendre à means 'to learn to (do something)'

Elle a commencé à l'apprendre la semaine dernière.
She started learning it last week.

commencer à means 'to start to (do something)'

Elle veut continuer à l'apprendre.
She wants to keep learning it.

continuer à means 'to continue to (do something)'

Elle veut vraiment continuer à apprendre à nager.
She really wants to continue learning to swim.

continuer à means 'to continue to (do something)'

Aujourd'hui, elle s'est épuisée à nager.
Today she exhausted herself swimming.

s'épuiser à means 'to get tired (from doing something)'

Elle s'habitue à nager sans aide.
She is getting used to swimming without help.

s'habituer à means 'to get used to (doing something)'

Elle se prépare à participer à une compétition de natation.
She is preparing to participate in a swimming competition.

préparee à means 'to prepare (to do something)'

natation (f) means 'swimming'

Elle est presque sur le point de réussir à nager comme son frère.
She on the verge of succeeding at swimming like her brother.

réussir à means 'to succeed (in doing something)'

Elle ne renonce jamais à apprendre.
She never gives up learning.

renouncer à means 'to give up (doing something)'

Elle persiste à s'entraîner tous les jours.
She persists in training every day.

persiste à means 'to persist (in doing something)'

s'entraîner means 'to train'

On ne la pousse pas à continuer.
We are not pushing her to continue.

pousser à means 'to push (someone) to (do something)'

Elle se plaît à réussir.
She likes to succeed.

se plaire à means 'to take pleasure (doing something)'

Elle est en train de s'apprêter à nager en compétition.
She is getting ready to swim competitively.

s'appreter à means 'to prepare onself to (do something)'

en compétition (adv) means 'competitively'

Elle est arrivée à gagner et elle est très contente.
She managed to win and she is very happy.

arriver à means 'to manage to' or 'to succeed in (doing something);

En fait, maintenant elle arrive à gagner tout le temps.
In fact now she manages to win all the time.

arriver à means 'to manage to' or 'to succeed in (doing something);

Elle s'est plu à réussir.
She was happy to succeed.

plaire à means 'to be pleased (to do something)'

plu is the past participle of plaire

Ma fille s'est décidée à aller aux Jeux olympiques à l'avenir.
My daughter has made up her mind to go to the Olympics in the future.

s'décidé à means 'to make up one's mind to (do something)' or 'to decide to (do something)'

Jeux olympiques (m.pl) means 'Olympic Games'

à l'avenir means 'in the future'

Elle est parvenue à réaliser son rêve.
She has managed to realize her dream.

parvenir à means 'to manage to (do something)'. It is a verb of motion due to the venir root

réaliser (verb) means 'to furfil' or 'to carry out' or 'to realise (make real)'

Toute la journée, elle songe à gagner l'or.
All day she thinks about winning the gold.

songer à means 'to think about (doing something)'