The infinitive in the French language is a basic form of the verb which does not have a subject, tense or number. There are 3 groups of verbs in French, each of them are classified by their endings:
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
|Regular verbs ending in - ER||Regular verbs ending in - IR||Irregular verbs ending in - IR ,- OIR , - RE|
There are 2 types of infinitives in French language:
The present infinitive (French l'infinitif présent) is a non-conjugated form of the verb and expresses an action in progress. The present infinitive can function as subject, as well as direct object.
The infinitive is used after most prepositions, such as avant de, pour, à, sans and afin de.
|avant de||je vais prendre mon petit-déjeuner avant de partir||I am going to have breakfast before leaving|
|pour||il va à l'armée pour apprendre le respect||he is going to the army to learn respect|
|à||je te donne cinq jours en plus à partir d'aujourd'hui||i give you five more days from now|
|afin de||il a acheté de la levure afin de faire préparer des crèpes||he bought baking powder in order to prepare some crepes|
|sans||je peux bien manger sans parler||I surely can eat without talking|
The past infinitive (French l'infinitif passé) is a compound form of the infinitive which has a notion of anteriority and expresses a performed action.
It consists of:
|Past infinitive||avoir parlé||avoir fini||avoir dit||être parti(e)(s)||être devenu(e)(s)||être allé(e)(s)|
The verbs conjugated with the auxiliary verb "être" have to be agreed with the subject while verbs conjugated with "avoir" have to be agreed with the direct object.
The past infinitive is most of the times used after the preposition après.
Example of the past infinitive in sentences:
When there is two verbs in the sentence, you use the infinitive as the second verb like in English.
There are many ways to use the present infinitive :
If the subject is not expressed, the application of the infinitive is indeterminate. This is particularly the case when the infinitive is used to formulate an abstract thought, an action having an indeterminate and often hypothetical subject; the infinitive refers in this case to the verbal idea in itself.
In ordinary French, the use of the infinitive as subject is infrequent; it is more usual to use the infinitive as a dislocated term. you can also use the preposition "le fait de" when you want to use the past or present infinitive as a subject or to state a fact
Choosing an infinitive in an imperative sentence, makes it possible to address a group of people more generally without aiming at a particular person. He has a more neutral and distant role. Sometimes, it is necessary to use courtesy before the infinive such as "prière de" "veuillez".
The imperative instead makes it possible to target a particular person and is much more direct by the notion of order that he introduces.
You use the infinitive as an imperative for: instructions for use or recipes and security rules.
The infinitive is used to ask for a decision or for advice. It is sometimes followed by the present subjunctive.
The infinitive is used to express a wish.
In causative construction, there is an important use of the verb "faire". the subject causes an action to be done by someone or something else so the conjugated verb is always followed by an infinitive.
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