Can anyone clarify why the infinitive of the verb sometimes has à before it, another time pour and sometimes nothing?

JohnC1Kwiziq community member

Can anyone clarify why the infinitive of the verb sometimes has à before it, another time pour and sometimes nothing?

I'm learning to play the guitar. 

J'apprends à jouer de la guitare.


It's quite difficult because I'm a bit old to start [learning] an instrument. 

C'est assez difficile parce que je suis un peu vieux pour commencer à apprendre un instrument.


I'm happy with my progress, and I hope to continue like this!

Je suis content de mes progrès, et j'espère continuer comme ça !

Asked 8 months ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour John,

To supplement Maarten's great answer, here are two more links:

verbs_pour+infinitive_in-order-to

verbs_à-or-de

'commencer à + infinitive' is more common than 'commencer de + infinitive' as the latter is used mainly in literature or formal written work. 

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

verbs-à+infinitive  

verbs-de+infinitive

“Pour” changes the meaning of the sentence, it is there to indicate “old for/in order to be”.  Commencer, as with many verbs in French, requires a preposition - à or de - preceding a following infinitive.

 

 

Can anyone clarify why the infinitive of the verb sometimes has à before it, another time pour and sometimes nothing?

I'm learning to play the guitar. 

J'apprends à jouer de la guitare.


It's quite difficult because I'm a bit old to start [learning] an instrument. 

C'est assez difficile parce que je suis un peu vieux pour commencer à apprendre un instrument.


I'm happy with my progress, and I hope to continue like this!

Je suis content de mes progrès, et j'espère continuer comme ça !

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