aller à visiter VS aller visiter

GioB2Kwiziq community member

aller à visiter VS aller visiter

Translate: "He went to visit a house."

Correct: Il est allé visiter une maison.

Incorrect: Il est allé à visiter une maison.

Can someone explain please? Thanks

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Gio,

Just to add to the excellent answers you would never say 

Aller à visiter quelquechose 

You do not require the à just plain -

aller visiter 

Just be aware that the verb visiter in French is used differently from its use in English.

You cannot ' visiter une personne' but use 'rendre visite à quelqu'un'.

Take a  look at this lesson for further information -

How to say to visit someone or a place in French

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Gio, 'aller' doesn't take the preposition 'à' before an infinitive (in most cases - see added information below), and 'est allé à visiter...' is not grammatically correct here.

In French, the translation of 'went to visit (somewhere)' is simply the past tense of aller, followed directly by the verb infinitive 'visiter'. 

English uses the preposition 'to' as part of the infinitive - 'to visit'. French does not use a preposition as part of an infinitive verb form. Whether 'à' or 'de', or no preposition, is needed depends on the preceding verb, not the following infinitive.

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/grammar/verbs-with-a/

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Aller à is reserved for places: aller au cinéma, aller à Paris, etc. 

Aller + infinitive: aller visiter mes parents, aller faire du shopping, etc.

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

For completeness, there are many expressions that use ‘aller à….’, with various meanings, not restricted just to places. 

The list includes at least one fixed expression with an infinitive -“ aller à ravir (à quelqu’un) “, which derives from the expression “ aller à (quelqu’un) “.

The exceptions in French !

 Aller à = to suit someone (French Expressions with aller)

https://www.lawlessfrench.com/expressions/aller-expressions/

 https://www.wordreference.com/fren/aller%20à

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Maarten, thanks for that clarification. Of course you are correct. I was only thinking in the limited context of the question.

aller à visiter VS aller visiter

Translate: "He went to visit a house."

Correct: Il est allé visiter une maison.

Incorrect: Il est allé à visiter une maison.

Can someone explain please? Thanks

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Let me take a look at that...