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French Infinitive Mood

French Infinitive Mood

The infinitive mood is used when the infinitive of a verb is the subject of a sentences. In English the -ing form of the verb is used. For example, “Travailler le week-end n’est pas amsuant” (working on the weekends is not fun). In the negation ne…pas precedes the infinitive. Keep reading.

French Infinitive Mood

What is the infinitive mood?

Infinitif présent examples

Most common usage: subject ends in -ing

  • Faire du ski est mon sport préféré.
    Skiing is my favorite sport.
  • Suivre un cours de francais est une bonné ideé.
    Taking a French class is a good idea.
  • Travailler le week-end n’est pas amusant.
    Working on weekends is not fun.
  • Apprendre le chinois n’est pas facile.
    Learning Chinese is not easy.

Giving directions and signage

  • Prendre trois fois par jour.
    Take three times per day.
  • Ne pas parler pendant le cours.
    Don’t speak during class.
  • Ne pas marcher sur le gazon.
    Don’t walk on the grass.
  • Lire le mode d’emploi avant de démarrer le moteur.
    Read the instructions before starting the motor.

Ne…pas always precedes an infinitive

  • Je te dis de ne pas parler trop fort.
    I’m telling you not to talk too loudly.
  • Elle m’a dit de ne pas arriver avant 21h00.
    She told me not to come arrive before 9.00pm.
  • Il m’a dit de ne pas mettre les pieds sur la table.
    He told me not to put my feet on the table.

Cooking instructions

  • Couper les tomates.
    Cut the tomatoes.
  • Râper le gruyère.
    Grate the Swiss cheese.
  • Casser deux oeufs
    Crack two eggs.

Use where English uses -ing

  • J’ai vu les enfants traverser la rue.
    I saw the kids crossing the street.
  • J’ai entendu le chien aboyer.
    I heard the dog barking.

Forming questions

  • Quoi faire?
    What can one/we do?
  • Quoi dire?
    What’s there to say?
  • Comment y aller?
    How to get there?
  • Pourquoi partir?
    Why leave?

Infinitif passé

The infinitif passé is used to express an action that already occurred. It’s formed with the infinitive of avoir or être plus the past participle.

  • Je vous remercie d’avoir préparé ce repas!
    Thank you for preparing this meal!
  • Merci d’avoir pris le temps de nous rencontrer.
    Thanks for taking the time to meet us.
  • Je vous remercie d’être venu!
    Thanks for coming!
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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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