Check our FAQs for the quickest support.


Did not find your answer?
Contact us

Infinitive in French

Our teachers

Looking for a language tutor? Contact one of our teachers!

Find a teacher

What is the infinitive of French verbs?

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 1Group 2Group 3
Regular verbs ending in - ERRegular verbs ending in - IRIrregular verbs ending in - IR ,- OIR , -  RE
  • parler = to speak
  • marcher = to walk
  • donner = to give
  • acheter = to buy
  • finir = to finish
  • rougir = to blush
  • franchir = to cross
  • bondir = to jump
  • dire = to tell
  • faire = to do
  • apprendre = to learn
  • sortir = to leave

Have a question?

Take online language lessons with a professional teacher

  1. Native & verified teachers
  2. Free trial lesson
  3. Learning materials included

How many types of infinitives do exist in French?

There are 2 types of infinitives in French language:

  • L'infinitif présent (Present infinitive) 
  • L'infinitif passé (Past infinitive)

1) Present infinitive in French

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 partirI am going to have breakfast before leaving
pouril va à l'armée pour apprendre le respecthe is going to the army to learn respect
àje te donne cinq jours en plus à partir d'aujourd'huii give you five more days from now
afin deil a acheté de la levure afin de faire préparer des crèpeshe bought baking powder in order to prepare some crepes
sansje peux bien manger sans parlerI surely can eat without talking


  • J'aime aller au promenade chaque matin. = I like to walk every morning. (function as direct object)
  • Il veut montrer ses résultat à ses parents. = He wants to show his results to his parents. (function as direct object)
  • Lire est très important. = To read is very important. (function as subject)
  • Passer du temps avec les amis nous fait beaucoup de plaisir. (function as subject) 

2) Past infinitive in French

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:

  •  the infinitive of the auxiliary verb avoir (to have) or être (to be)
  •  and the past participle of main verb.


Present infinitiveparlerfinirdirepartirdeveniraller
Past infinitiveavoir parléavoir finiavoir ditêtre parti(e)(s)être devenu(e)(s)être allé(e)(s)

enlightenedThe 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:

  •  Après avoir mangé mon croissant je suis allé à dormir = When I had finished to eat my croissant I went to sleep.
  •  Après avoir fini son travail il a appelé sa mère. = When he had finished the job he called his mother.
  •  Après être partie pour Paris elle est devenue heureuse. = When she had moved to Paris she became happy.

enlightenedWhen there is two verbs in the sentence, you use the infinitive as the second verb like in English. 

  • j'aimerais parler au directeur. = I would like to talk to the CEO

Usage of the infinitive in french

There are many ways to use the present infinitive :

As a noun

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


  • vouloir c'est pouvoir = where there is a will, there is a way.
  • voter est un droit. = voting is a right. 
  • partir, c'est mon rêve. = go away, that's my dream 
  • boire de l'eau est nécessaire pour la vie. = drink water is a need for life. 
  • le fait de te voir heureuse me rend heureuse. = to see you happy makes me happy 
  • le fait d'avoir travaillé en Espagne est un grand avantage pour lui. = working in Spain is a big advantage for him

As an imperative

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


  • ne pas marcher sur le gazon. = do not walk on the grass. 
  • laissez cuire pendant trentes minutes. = cook for thirty minutes
  • veuillez enlever vos chaussures. = please, pull off your shoes
  • prière de ne pas faire de bruit. = please, do not make any noise. 

In an interrogative phrase expressing deliberation 

The infinitive is used to ask for a decision or for advice. It is sometimes followed by the present subjunctive.


  • que faire ? = what shall I do ? 
  • où aller ? = where shall I go ? 
  • pourquoi partir aussi loin ? = why leave this far ? 
  • comment faire pour qu'il me parle ? = what shall I do for him to talk to me ? 
  • pourquoi être méchant, toi aussi ? = why you have to be this mean ? 

In an exclamatory phrase

The infinitive is used to express a wish


  • finir et partir ! = to finish and leave !
  • oh ! être jeune encore ! = oh, to be still young ! 

enlightenedIn 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. 

  • je fais chanter les enfants. = I make the children sing. 
  • il fait faire ce travail. = he has this work done


  1. Question set exercise about the Infinitive in French I
  2. Drag and drop exercise about the present infinitive in French
  3. Multiple choice questions about the use of infinitive in French
  4. Fill in the blank exercise for the past infinitive in French

Question set exercise about the Infinitive in French I

Drag and drop exercise about the present infinitive in French

Multiple choice questions about the use of infinitive in French

Fill in the blank exercise for the past infinitive in French

What our students say

Unlike in other platforms, all our teachers are manually verified by our professional team. Trust in the experiences of our students.
Elena is an excellent teacher and a very nice person. I have been training in Spanish with Elena for quite some time now after her being recommended to me by a friend, and have consistently been very pleased with our lessons. While I do not consider myself to be very good at learning foreign languages, Elena is very patient and adapts the lessons to my ability, making me feel at ease. In fact, I find her to be extremely skilled at assessing exactly where I am at any given time with respect to my individual learning situation, and structuring the lessons accordingly. I think I probably would have given up trying to learn Spanish had I not began my study with Elena; and that would have been a shame considering where I am now with the language. Because of Elena's skilled help, I am extremely pleased to not only be conversant in basic Spanish, but also have confidence that I will one day reach full proficiency with the language. No other learning method I tried before meeting Elena compares to the one-on-one, personalized instruction I receive from her, which comprises reading; writing; developmental exercises; and most importantly, conversation. To be able to look at Spanish now and have it appear largely familiar is extremely satisfying. I even plan to study Italian with Elena after reaching my desired level in Spanish. These are not things I ever imagined would occur at the beginning stages of my studies. I am a native English speaker and find Elena's English to be excellent. She had no difficulty instructing me from the very beginning levels where it was necessary that a lot of English be spoken in our lessons, to where we are now with much less English being spoken. The friend who recommended Elena to me learned Dutch from her, and is equally pleased with their experience. I would not hesitate to learn from Elena any of the languages she teaches. I give Elena my highest recommendations and thank her for all the help she has provided me.
Thank you for your feedback, Brandon! I am very happy to know that you are so satisfied with the lessons. I've always believed that you could make it and I am glad that we never gave it up. The right attitude and a high level of perseverance have been the keys to your success. It has been a pleasure to be your guide in your learning process. I know that you can do much more, so let's continue towards a next level!
Hands down one of the best teachers I've had the pleasure of working with. Very knowledgeable in all aspects of Bulgarian (grammar rules, expressions, ...) but also in both English and French, which helps whenever you have a more in-depth question on the how or why something is the way it is in Bulgarian. Furthermore he has his own material and always comes prepared, but he is equally open to changing the subject of a lesson to suit your needs. He is patient, positive and not too scholarly, which is what you need as an adult learning day- to- day Bulgarian.I have been working with him for 18 months now and still look forward to our lessons every week.
An's Bulgarian has tremendously improved since she gave it go a year and a half ago. Of course, It goes without saying that I am pleased to work with such an enthusiastic learner who is living proof that, through hard work and perseverance, everyone can succeed in their language goals. An, you are now an independant user of the language who is able to successfully lead real-live conversations. Pat yourself on the back.
Again a lesson full of fun anf full of learning opportunities. I really like Angels patience and ability to adapt to my learning process.
This student is one of the best ones I ever had in my long teaching career. She is always so diligent and willing to learn more and more. I am so happy to work with her and see the immense progress she has made since we first started working together. Thank you Silke!
I would highly recommend Tove. Her lessons are fantastic and I learn exactly what I'm interested in. Tove is very friendly, our chemistry goes well together and I really enjoy being tought by her.
Dear Anita, Thank you very much for your nice review! I enjoy our lessons very much too and I am so happy that our communication and chemistry fit well together. That's the best precondition for a good learning experience. See you soon!
We are an Italian family residing in France for 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the children two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with the choice. Nous sommes une famille italienne résidant en France depuis janvier, nous avons deux enfants de 10 ans qui viennent de commencer la CM1. Nous avons demandé à Natalia de leur donner deux leçons par semaine pour accélérer leur apprentissage. Nous sommes super contents de Natalia. We are an Italian family living in France since 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the kids two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with this choice.
Translated by Google Translate
Fabrizio's children are learning French very fast, I have the impression that these lessons online have been helpful for them and I am sure they will master the language easily. They are very interested in learning.
Daniela is a very pleasant and brisk teacher who has the talent to make you feel at ease immediately. Her lessons are a nice mix of conversation and theory. Again and again it is a nice hour to look forward to !! Thank you Daniela !!
Translated by Google Translate
Dear Hilde, thank you very much for your words. I'm glad you are satisfied with our time together. I will continue to do my best to make you practice your beautiful Italian in a cheerful and peaceful way :-)
Translated by Google Translate
It is always a pleasure to have English lessons with Corinne. The lessons are always a lot of fun and extremely interesting concerning on current affairs and unfortunately the time always ends too early. Very recommended.
Thank you, Danilo. It is always a pleasure having lessons with you and I have enjoyed our many conversations together. And what a joy that over time they have become easier for both of us to understand! :D
Carmen is really prepared and very very nice. She takes you by the hand and introduces you to portuguese language in a really pleasant way. I learned 3-4 sentences already on the first lesson!
Fabia is a very nice student and learns very quickly. It is a pleasure to teach her as she really likes to learn a difficult language like Portuguese and improved a lot.
It was very nice to take a lesson from Theano (Anny). She is adaptable to the student's level and is prepared to help the student as necessary. She is a friendly and caring teacher!
Σ' ευχαριστώ πολύ Μέγκαν! I'm glad you had a good experience and that you enjoyed it. Your excitment about learning greek motivates me even more :)
Marissa is a very professional teacher who can put the student at ease. It is precise, effective and oriented towards achieving the objectives: highly recommended.
Translated by Google Translate
Thanks so much Paola!!! I LOVE working with you guys and have enjoyed every moment. Even after this brief period, we can already start to see some changes. :-)
I have had many lessons with Luisa and I always look forward to them. We begin by chatting about the past week's events and them move to Espresso which I find very useful as a good review of material I have done in the past. There is often additional words used I had not met before. Luisa is always a pleasure to talk with and is a kind and pleasant teacher. She corrects me gently and offers useful words or meanings when appropriate.
Dear Martin thank you so much ! It's my pleasure taking class with you. And thanks a lot for your suggestion about Us movies ( Just Mercy) or Us books
I had my first lesson a couple of days ago and everything went super good! Karin was attentive, transmiting her positivism and helping me with every doubt I had. She really focus on teaching how to pronounce and talk a language, so this is really interesting for me, to practise it & be able to use it in my day by day. I really recommend her to everyone willing to learn a new language :)
Hi Alba! Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I enjoyed our class too & I wish you the best of luck with all your future projects :-)
A prepared and kind teacher, ready to teach with patience and good humor. He provided me with very useful materials to study and review even after the lesson. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language with a smile. Thanks Silvia :)
Translated by Google Translate
Thank you so much for the Chiara review! It was a real pleasure to have this lesson with you. I wish you a nice trip with the German language!
Translated by Google Translate
The lesson with Celia was perfect! She was puntcual, kind and her teaching method is effective and funny. She started the class with some "games" to get to know eachother and then we discussed about an article she provided. The time of the class passed really fast and I learned new vocabulary. Absolutely raccomended.
Thank you so much, Remark! I´m happy to know you enjoyed our lesson and I´m looking forward to having more in the near future! Cheers!
Ekaterina writes new words and sentences learnt during the lesson. She has got a very nice attitude and great accent! A pleasure to work with... yes, even in German!!!!!
Dear Silvia, thank you very much for your feedback! It's a real pleasure to have classes with you, and I hope you find them useful!