<<

. 11
( 19)



>>

devrait t™intriguer aussi = I™m surprised to discover that I don™t know anyone whose surname
begins with F “ I™m informing you of this piece of news because it ought to intrigue you as well
` ˆ
Quand on croit en Dieu on a tendance a prier un Dieu male, ce qui est tr` s e
bien, mais on ne doit pas oublier que Dieu est aussi une m` re “ quand on e
reconnaˆt ce concept, cela nous lib` re de beaucoup de complexes = when you
± e
believe in God you tend to pray to a male God, which is good, but you mustn™t forget that God is also a
mother “ when we acknowledge this concept it frees us from a lot of complexes
ˆ
Nous ne sommes pas faits pour etre carnivores “ j™essaie de persuader
tous ceux que je rencontre de cette v´ rit´ fondamentale = we™re not made to be
ee
carnivores “ I try to persuade all the people I meet of this fundamental truth
Une nouvelle science inutile au progr` s humain vient d™´ clore “ la
e e
nanologie, soit tout ce qui concerne l™univers du nain du jardin “ il faut
f´ liciter les Britanniques de Sudbury de cette addition au panth´ on des
e e
-ologies = a new science useless for human progress has just burst on the scene “ gnomology, in other
words everything relating to the universe of the garden gnome “ we have to congratulate the inhabitants of
Sudbury in Britain for this addition to the pantheon of -ologies
´e e`
Un mec gon¬‚able a et´ invent´ aux Etats-Unis “ il se prˆ te a
e
l™investissement affectif mais ne vous accable pas d™exigences
personnelles en echange = an in¬‚atable man has been invented in the USA “ he is available
´
for emotional attachment, but doesn™t overwhelm you with personal demands in return
Certaines pop stars entonnent une chanson lugubre, la voix se brise, la
star cesse de chanter, baisse la tˆ te et pleure “ dans la salle c™est l™hyst´ rie,
e e
mais ceci devient grotesque quand il se r´ p` te chaque soir “ il faut
ee
pr´ venir le public de cette surench` re du marketing = certain pop stars embark on
e e
a lugubrious song, their voice cracks, the star stops singing, lowers his or her head and weeps “ the place
goes mad, but this becomes grotesque when it™s repeated every evening “ the public should be warned
about this piece of marketing extravagance


298 Verbs involving a with a noun and de with an in¬nitive
`
For a sizeable group of verbs, it is important to remember that certain constructions in
`
which they are involved necessitate the use of both a and de “
appartenir (impersonal usage) il appartient = it is up to, arriver (impersonal usage)
il arrive = it happens, commander = to order, conseiller = to advise, d´ conseiller =
e
to advise against, d´ fendre = to forbid, demander = to ask, dire = to say, imposer = to
e
impose, interdire = to forbid, ordonner = to order, pardonner = to forgive, permettre =
to allow, persuader = to persuade, prˆ ter = to credit, reprocher = to reproach, savoir
e


233
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



gr´ = to be grateful, sugg´ rer = to suggest, tarder (impersonal usage) il me tarde = I™m
e e
longing, en vouloir = to bear a grudge

299 Examples of verbs involving a with a noun and de
`
with an in¬nitive
`
Quand votre petit ami vient te chercher, est-ce qu™il arrive a ton p` re de se e
lancer dans un grand monologue sur la n´ cessit´ du respect d™un
e e
minimum de r` gles sociales pour que la vie soit plus supportable? = when
e
your boyfriend comes to take you out, does it happen that your dad launches into a great monologue on
the necessity of respecting a minimum of social rules so that life is more bearable?
On nous a conseill´ de ne pas utiliser le terme « nain » dans notre article “
e
mais de parler plutot de « personne de petite taille » = we were advised not to use
ˆ
the term ˜dwarf™ in our article, but rather to talk of ˜people of small stature™
La Carte 12“25 vous permet de bouger toujours plus loin = the Young People™s
Card allows you to travel further and further
Classiquement, on prˆ te aux garcons d™appartenir au « sexe fort » et aux
e ¸
¬lles d™appartenir au « sexe faible » = traditionally boys are credited with belonging to the
˜stronger sex™ and girls to the ˜weaker sex™
e`
Je saurais gr´ a vos lecteurs de me fournir des renseignements sur la
pr´ vention de l™entorse du genou = I™d be grateful to your readers for supplying me with
e
information on how to prevent knee sprains

300 Verbs with variable prepositional usage
Certain verbs may be followed by different prepositions depending upon the syntac-
tic circumstances or register of the context or to indicate subtle nuances of meaning.
Occasionally there seems to be no difference in the use of the different prepositions
involved “ in other words they are used in free variation.

301 Examples of verbs with variable prepositional usage
avoir droit / avoir le droit
avoir droit a = to be entitled to is linked to a noun by a
` `
Il a droit a des sorties avec ses enfants le weekend = he™s entitled to weekend outings
`
with his children

avoir le droit de = to have the right to is linked to an in¬nitive by de
Il a le droit de sortir avec ses enfants le weekend = he has the right to go out with his
children every weekend

commencer
Commencer is normally accompanied by a + in¬nitive, but de is used with a high
`
register or to avoid a succession of /a/ sounds

Elle commenca de rire = she began to laugh is preferred to Elle commenca a rire
¸`
¸


234
301 Examples: verbs + variable prepositions



commencer, ¬nir, terminer
Finir, terminer are used with de or par to convey different aspects of time “
¬nir, terminer + de = an action has just ¬nished
¬nir, terminer + par = the action indicated by the in¬nitive occurs at the same time
as the ˜ending™.
Vous n™avez pas ¬ni de vous disputer? = haven™t you ¬nished arguing?
Les grands etablissements n™ont pas ¬ni de faire des economies = the big
´ ´
establishments haven™t ¬nished making economies
Je voudrais ¬nir / terminer par vous donner des chiffres = I should like to end /
conclude by giving you some ¬gures
`
En d´ cembre dernier, les discussions a l™Assembl´ nationale sur la loi de
e e
bio´ thique ont ¬ni par lever cette interdiction = last December, discussions in the
e
National Assembly on the bioethics law ¬nished by lifting this ban
Tu avances dans la vie et a travers les exp´ riences tu ¬nis par te trouver =
` e
you advance in life and through your experiences you ¬nish up by ¬nding yourself
`
The situation is the same with commencer except that a rather than de (see above)
tends to be involved to indicate that an action has just begun “
Je voudrais commencer par vous donner des chiffres = I should like to begin by
giving you some ¬gures
An alternative to the par + in¬nitive construction with all three verbs is en + present
participle “
Je voudrais commencer en vous donnant des chiffres = I should like to begin by
giving you some ¬gures

comparer
Comparer = to compare is normally followed by a + noun, but by avec in a low register
`
situation “
` ˆ
Comparez la situation actuelle a / avec celle de nos a¨eules qui avaient du±
ˆ
combattre pour d´ fendre le droit de se colorer les l` vres sans etre
e e
etiquet´ es ¬lles de mauvaise vie = compare the present situation with that of our
´ e
grandmothers who had to ¬ght for the right to paint their lips without being labelled tarts

continuer
`
Continuer may be followed by a and de interchangeably “
`
Pour continuer a / de d´ velopper nos capacit´ s g´ n´ tiques, nous devons
e e ee
recevoir l™amour de l™autre = in order to continue to develop our genetic capabilities, we have
to receive another™s love

croire
Croire + en = to believe in, to have faith in
Je crois en J´ sus-Christ, ¬ls de Dieu = I believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God
e
`
Croire + a implies intellectual trust

235
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Elle croit a la hom´ opathie = she believes in homeopathy
` e
Croire + a direct object implies trust/con¬dence
Je la croyais = I used to believe her

demander
Demander + a + in¬nitive = to ask, when no indirect object is involved
`
`
Avec lui, je me sens en s´ curit´ , je ne demande qu™a passer le reste de ma
e e
vie avec lui = with him, I feel safe, all I ask is to spend the rest of my life with him
Demander + de + in¬nitive = to ask, when an indirect object is speci¬ed
e`
Une voiture s™arrˆ te a ma hauteur, le conducteur me demande de lui
indiquer le chemin d™un restaurant indien = a car drew up beside me, the driver asked
me to tell him the way to an Indian restaurant

dire
Dire + de + in¬nitive = to order
Elle m™a convoqu´ e pour me dire de partir le lendemain = she summoned me to
e
tell me to leave the next day
`
Le bruit est devenu un v´ ritable ¬‚´ au citadin “ on doit souvent dire a ses
e e
voisins de mod´ rer le volume de leurs t´ l´ visions = noise has become a real scourge
e ee
in towns “ you often have to tell your neighbours to turn down their televisions
Dire + zero preposition + in¬nitive occurs when the subject for dire is the same as for
the other in¬nitive “
`
Quoiqu™ils disent le faire, la majorit´ ne suit pas les r` gles pr´ alables a
e e e
ˆe
l™instauration du traitement: un r´ gime alimentaire control´ et l™arrˆ t du
e e
tabac = although they say they do, the majority don™t follow the rules which should precede the
beginning of treatment: a controlled diet and an end to smoking

´
echapper
´
Echapper + a = to avoid
`
Il a r´ ussi a echapper a la prison = he managed to avoid prison
`´ `
e
`
Normalement je m™endors en deux minutes, mais la j™ai mis une
´
demi-heure “ je n™ai pas pu echapper aux pens´ es n´ gatives qui
e e
m™assaillaient = normally I go to sleep in a couple of minutes, but then it took me half an hour “
I couldn™t avoid the negative thoughts that kept attacking me


s™´ chapper de = to escape from
e
Il a r´ ussi a s™´ chapper de ses kidnappeurs = he managed to escape from his kidnappers
`e
e
´e
Professionnel depuis 1987, il a et´ tout pr` s d™abandonner son m´ tier onze
e e
ans apr` s ses d´ buts, de s™´ chapper des ann´ es d™angoisse et de stress = a
e e e e
professional since 1987, he was very close to abandoning his job eleven years after beginning, to escape
from the years of anguish and stress
236
301 Examples: verbs + variable prepositions



s™ennuyer
S™ennuyer = to be bored, to get bored may be followed by a and de + in¬nitive interchange-
`
ably “
On passe un tiers de sa vie au lit “ alors, quand on choisit un partenaire, il
`
ne faut pas s™ennuyer a / de prˆ ter attention au comportement de celui-ci
e
au lit = we spend a third of our lives in bed “ so, when you choose a partner, you mustn™t get fed up
with paying attention to his behaviour in bed
S™ennuyer + de + noun = to miss
`
Elle commence a s™ennuyer de son petit ami = she™s beginning to miss her boyfriend
Je change mes draps tous les trois ou quatre jours “ je m™ennuie des draps
hyperpropres = I change my sheets every three or four days “ I miss hyperclean sheets

faire
Faire = to do (with / to) may be followed by avec and de + noun interchangeably “
Qu™est-ce qu™elle a fait avec / de ses cheveux? = what has she done to / with her
hair?
Qu™est-ce que vous allez faire avec / de ce mec psychopathe? = what are you
going to do with this psychopath?
faire = to do (by) may be followed by de and par interchangeably “
Il n™a pas le droit de le faire de / par lui-mˆ me = he hasn™t got the right to do it by
e
himself

¬nir see commencer
insister = to insist may be followed by a and pour + in¬nitive
`
interchangeably “
`
Pour expliquer sa performance d´ cevante, elle insiste a / pour dire que les
e
conditions etaient trop dif¬ciles = to explain her disappointing performance, she insists on
´
saying that the conditions were too dif¬cult
insister + pour que is used when a subordinate clause is involved “
Il m™a t´ l´ phon´ pour insister pour que son ami soit r´ int´ gr´ dans
ee e eee
l™´ quipe = he telephoned me to insist that his mate was taken back into the team
e

jouer
Jouer + de = to play used with musical instruments
Elle joue de la guitare acoustique = she plays the acoustic guitar
`
Jouer + a = to play used with sports
Nous jouons au tennis le mercredi soir = we play tennis Wednesday evenings

manquer
Manquer “ this verb is particularly complicated to handle “
manquer = to lack can be used in two ways “
237
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Si vous manquez de mat´ riel pour r´ aliser
e e 

if you lack the equipment to carry out
les exercices de musculation
=
Si le mat´ riel pour r´ aliser les exercices  muscle building exercises
e e 

de musculation vous manque

Avec un tel comportement vous n™allez pas  

with such behaviour you™re not going
manquer d™admiratrices
=
Avec un tel comportement les admiratrices to lack admirers


ne vont pas vous manquer
manquer = to miss is followed by a direct object “
J™ai manqu´ un rendez-vous avec lui, je n™ai pas l™intention de manquer le
e
prochain = I missed one date with him, I don™t intend missing the next one
manquer = almost “ de and zero preposition + in¬nitive are used interchangeably


`
Je t™observe a la d´ rob´ e, j™attends
e e 



que nos regards se croisent.  I watch you out of the corner of my eye,

En¬n. Puis, je manque me d´ gon¬‚er
e
= I wait for our eyes to meet. At last. Then

`
Je t™observe a la d´ rob´ e,
e e  I almost lose my nerve

j™attends que nos regards se croisent.  


En¬n. Puis, je manque de me d´ gon¬‚er
e
ne pas manquer + de + in¬nitive = not to fail
Ne manque pas de te brosser les dents le matin et le soir = don™t fail to brush
your teeth morning and evening
Si vous avalez de l™essence, ne manquez pas de prendre du lait ou un verre
d™eau pour la diluer = if you swallow petrol, don™t fail to drink some milk or a glass of water to
dilute it

se mˆ ler
e
Se mˆ ler + a = to mix (physically) “
`
e
`
Beaucoup de gens sont tr` s mal a l™aise quand il faut se mˆ ler aux autres “
e e
c™est ce qui explique le boom des sites de rencontres sur Internet = lots of
people are very uncomfortable when they have to mix with others “ that™s what explains the popularity of
Internet dating sites
Se mˆ ler + de = to mix, to meddle (implying intellectual involvement or interference) “
e
Tu ne devrais pas te mˆ ler des affaires des autres = you shouldn™t stick your nose in
e
other people™s business

s™occuper
S™occuper = to be busy, to deal with may be followed by a and de + in¬nitive interchange-
`
ably “
`
Trop souvent on s™occupe a / de masquer ses sentiments, parce qu™on veut
eviter les echecs douloureux = too often, we are busy hiding our feelings, because we want to
´ ´
avoid painful failures


238
301 Examples: verbs + variable prepositions



`
Il faut les caresser subtilement en s™occupant a / de s™attarder sur les bras
ou les jambes= you have to caress them subtly, taking care to linger over their arms and legs

ˆ
Etre occup´ “ in the passive a + in¬nitive only is used
`
e
e`
Si tu me t´ l´ phones quand je suis tout occup´ e a prendre un bain, tu peux
ee
laisser un message sur mon r´ pondeur = if you phone when I™m busy having a bath,
e
you can leave a message on my answerphone
e` ´
J™´ tais occup´ a boire une cannette de bi` re quand je l™ai vue, elle etait si
e e
sexy! = I was busy drinking a can of beer, when I saw her, she was so sexy!
S™occuper / etre occup´ + noun “ de only is used
ˆ e
Il faut s™occuper de la facon dont on s™habille pour attirer les ¬lles = you have
¸
to pay attention to the way you dress to attract the girls
Je mangeais les hamburgers, les cheese-burgers, les frites, je n™´ tais pas du
e
tout occup´ des cons´ quences = I used to eat hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chips, I wasn™t at
e e
all concerned about the consequences

penser
Penser + zero preposition = to think, to intend
`
Cela nous rappelle le temps ou l™on donnait de l™huile de foie de morue aux
enfants pensant contrecarrer leur retard de croissance = that reminds me of the
time when we gave cod liver oil to children thinking that we could counteract the fact that they were slow
developers
`
Penser + a = to think of, about
Apr` s une dispute, vous vous r´ conciliez tr` s facilement et vous n™y pensez
e e e
plus = after an argument, you make it up very easily and don™t think about it any more
`
Je pense a lui tout le temps, je l™aime parce que c™est lui qui descend la
poubelle = I think about him all the time, I love him because he™s the one who puts the bin out
Plus le blouson est d´ lav´ , plus vous devez lui accorder de l™´ l´ gance “
ee ee
pensez a le porter avec de belles chaussures = the more faded your jacket is, the more
`
you need to enhance its elegance “ think about wearing it with a smart pair of shoes
Penser + de = to think about, to have an opinion on
Qu™est-ce que tu penses de sa robe? = what do you think of her dress?
Selon les pays, on r´ pond diff´ remment au probl` me pos´ par
e e e e
l™hyperactivit´ des enfants. Dans la culture anglo-saxonne, on prescrit des
e
m´ dicaments. Dans les pays latin, on favorise l™approche
e
psychoth´ rapeutique. Qu™est-ce que vous pensez de cette diff´ rence
e e
d™approche d™ordre culturel? = According to country, people react differently to the problem
posed by hyperactivity amongst children. In Anglo-Saxon countries, medicines are prescribed. In
Mediterranean countries, a psychotherapeutic approach is preferred. What is your opinion of this
culture-based difference of approach?


239
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



prendre
Prendre + a = to take from used with people “
`
J™ai pris la valise a la dame et l™a hiss´ e dans le porte-bagages = I took the case
` e
from the lady and heaved it onto the luggage rack
Prendre + dans = to take from (= within)
Elle a pris sa chemise dans le tiroir = she took her blouse from the drawer
prendre + sur = to take from (= off)
Il ne peut monter que si tu as pris la lessive sur ton lit = he can™t come up till
you™ve taken the washing off your bed

r´ pondre
e
R´ pondre + a = to answer
`
e
J™esp` re que tu pourras r´ pondre a ma question = I hope you™ll be able to answer
`
e e
my question
R´ pondre + de = to be responsible
e
Tout le monde doit r´ pondre de ce qu™il a fait dans la vie = everyone must be
e
responsible for what they do in life
` ` e`
J™ai une seule r´ ¬‚exion a faire a ton probl` me “ tu seras condamn´ e a de
e e
`e
telles histoires chaotiques si tu ne commences pas a r´ pondre de tes
actions = I™ve got one simple comment to make on your problem “ you™ll be doomed to such chaotic
episodes if you don™t begin taking responsibility for your actions

servir
Servir + a = to be useful, to serve to
`

Les documentaires t´ l´ vis´ s servent
ee e 

`e television documentaries are useful for
a l™´ largissement des esprits
=
Les documentaires t´ l´ vis´ s servent broadening the mind
ee e 


a elargir les esprits
`
Sa formule aux micro-bulles et son agent anti-bact´ rien servent a
e
combattre vos probl` mes de peau = its micro-bubble formula and antibacterial agent
e
serve to combat your skin problems
Servir + de = to be used
Organisez d™autres tentations “ le shopping orgiaque peut servir
d™alternative a la consommation de trop de sucreries = organise other
`
temptations “ a shopping orgy can be used as an alternative to eating too many sweet things
Chez les Indiens de Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guin´ e, les feuilles servent
e
d™assiettes = amongst the Papua New Guinea Indians, leaves are used as plates
Se servir is always used with de “
`e `
Servez-vous de ce kit de rouges a l` vres pour obtenir une couleur bien a
vous ou pour jouer la bouche bicolore, mˆ me tricolore = use this lipstick kit to
e
obtain your very own colour or to produce a two-colour or even three-colour mouth

240
301 Examples: verbs + variable prepositions



Je me sers d™internet pour m™informer sur les vols bon march´ = I use the
e
Internet to get information on cheap ¬‚ights


tarder
Tarder + a = to delay
`
`e
Ne tardez pas a d´ nicher un petit morceau de tissu capable d™arranger vos
atouts = don™t delay getting hold of a little piece of tissue capable of displaying your best points to
greatest effect
`
Je suis folle amoureuse d™un mec et j™ai peur de trop tarder a le lui dire “
mais comment? = I™m madly in love with a guy and I™m afraid of leaving it too long before
telling him “ but how can I do it?
Tarder + de = to miss, to be keen to “ the impersonal form of the verb is used
Vous vouliez vivre en communaut´ , il vous tardait de faire la r´ volution,
e e
mais rien de tout cela ne s™est pass´ = you wanted to live in a community, you were keen
e
to take part in the revolution, but nothing of all that has come to pass
Il me tarde de manger mes petits pots de cr` me au chocolat “ si j™ai un peu
e
de stress, c™est ma seule drogue = I miss my little pots of chocolate cream “ if I feel a bit
stressed, it™s the only drug I need


tenir
Tenir + a = to want to
`
Je tiens a souligner que les Verts sont en train de s™am´ liorer = I want to stress
` e
the fact that the Greens are in the process of improving
`
Les nutritionnistes tiennent a nous dire que la betterave est riche en
magn´ sium antistress et en vitamine B9 anti-an´ mique, deux
e e
micronutriments dont les carences affectent particuli` rement les e
femmes = nutritionists are keen to tell us that beetroot is rich in antistress magnesium and in
anti-anaemia vitamin B9, two micronutrients whose lack particularly affects women
Tenir + de = to take after
Mon ¬ls tient de sa m` re = my son takes after his mother
e


venir
Venir + zero preposition = to come
M´ ¬ez-vous des poux “ ils peuvent venir vous contaminer la tˆ te sans que
e e
vous vous en rendiez compte = beware of lice “ they can come and infect your head without
you realising it
Venir + de = just “ see 143.
Vous venez d™accumuler quelques petits kilos suppl´ mentaires? “ la
e
meilleure facon de s™en d´ barrasser, c™est la marche = if you™ve just put on a few
¸ e
extra kilos, the best way to get rid of them is walking

241
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Je venais de suivre un traitement contre la migraine quand je d´ couvrais e
que cela m™avait fait prendre beaucoup de poids = I had just followed a course to
treat my migraines, when I discovered that it was making me put on weight


Prepositional expressions

302 Prepositional expressions
Sometimes there is a one-to-one correlation between French and English prepositions,
especially when those with fairly speci¬c meanings are involved, but very often no such
correlation exists, especially with those prepositions with a vague meaning. By providing
a large number of examples for the most common prepositions and especially those with
the vaguest meanings, it is hoped that the various values will emerge. What follows cannot
be an exhaustive list of examples “ the hope is that the ¬‚avour and typical uses of the
prepositions will become clear.


303 a
`
`
A is equivalent to English at, in, to, on and sometimes zero preposition; it is used in relation
to place, time, manner and measurement. It is extremely common.


304 a indicating place
`
`
A indicates position in and movement towards.
etre a l™´ cole = to be at / in school
ˆ `e
aller a l™´ cole = to go to school
`e
ˆ ` e`
etre / aller a la facult´ / a l™universit´ = to be at university / to go to university
e
`
s™inscrire a la fac = to register at university
etre / aller a l™´ glise = to be in / at church / to go to church
ˆ `e
etre / aller a l™hotel = to be in the hotel / to go to the hotel
ˆ ` ˆ
ˆ
etre / aller au restaurant = to be in the restaurant / to go to the restaurant
etre / aller au commissariat de police = to be in the police station / to go to the police
ˆ
station
etre / aller au village = to be in the village / to go to the village
ˆ
but en ville— = in town
etre / aller a Paris = to be in Paris / to go to Paris
ˆ `
au sud, au nord, a l™est, a l™ouest = in / to the south, the north, the east, the west
` `
au nord de la France = in / to northern France
a la campagne = in / to the country
`
a la montagne = in / to the mountains
`


242
304 a indicating place
`



au jardin = in / to the garden
a la salle a manger = in / to the dining room
` `
au pole sud, au pole nord = at / to the south pole, at / to the north pole
ˆ ˆ
au plafond = on the ceiling
a la ferme— = on / to the farm
`
ecrire au tableau blanc = to write on the white board
´
ˆ ` `
etre a bicyclette / a pied = to be on a bike / on foot
etre au t´ l´ phone / au portable = to be on the telephone / on the mobile
ˆ ee
`
a la t´ l´ vision = on television
ee
a la radio = on the radio
`
au journal = in the newspaper
`
a la page num´ ro 2 = on page number 2
e
tomber aux genoux = to fall on / to your knees
`
frapper a la porte = to knock on / at the door
ˆ `
etre a bord d™une voiture = to be in a car
au soleil = in the sun
`
a l™ombre = in the shade
`
tomber a l™eau = to fall in the water
`
tenir quelque chose a la main = to hold something in your hand
etre bless´ au bras / genou, etc = to be wounded in the arm / knee, etc
ˆ e
porter quelque chose aux pieds = to wear something on your feet
travailler a la mine / aux chemins de fer— = to work in the mine / on the
`
railways
tomber a terre—— = to fall to the ground (from a height)
`
`
a l™int´ rieur = inside, indoors
e
`
a l™ext´ rieur = outside, outdoors
e
`
a l™arri` re = in / at the back
e
`
a l™envers = back to front
`
a la place de / au lieu de = in place of / instead of

see 333, 390 dans
——
see 374, 390 par
`
For a with names of countries, see 393.


243
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



305 a indicating time
`
`
a dix heures = at ten o™clock
` `
a minuit / a midi = at midnight / at midday
`
a l™heure actuelle = at the present time
au d´ but = at the beginning
e
`
a la ¬n = at the end
a la mi-temps = at half-time
`
au soir = in the evening
au printemps = in the spring
`
a l™automne = in the autumn
` ´
a notre epoque = in our time
au 21e si` cle = in the twenty-¬rst century
e
`
a la mi-janvier = in mid-January
` `
a la Saint-Sylvestre / a la Toussaint = (on) New Year™s Eve / on All Saints™ Day
` `
a notre arriv´ e / a notre retour = on our arrival / on our return
e
arriver a temps = to arrive on time
`
`
la date a laquelle elle est partie = the date on which she left
a l™avance— = in advance
`

see de and par 390.



306 a indicating manner
`
e`
fabriqu´ a la main = hand-made
`
un a un = one by one
`
mot a mot = word for word
`
pas a pas = step by step
` `
a pas lents / a pas de loup = slowly / stealthily
`
a reculons = backwards
`
a ce que j™ai entendu = from what I™ve heard
`
reconnaˆtre quelqu™un a sa voix = to recognise someone from / by their voice
±
´ `
ecrire au stylo / a l™encre = to write in pen / in ink
`
lire a la lumi` re d™une lampe = to read by the light of a lamp
e
ˆ `
etre abattu a coups de pied / poing / couteau = to be kicked / punched / knifed to the
ground

244
309 a expressing compound phenomenon
`



ˆ ˆ
etre au chomage = to be out of work
le gouvernement au pouvoir = the government in power
une collection aux tons de sable et de terre = a collection with tones of sand and earth
un album aux accents romantiques = an album with a romantic ¬‚avour
`
a mon avis = in my opinion
`
a leur mani` re = in their way
e
`
a regret = regretfully
`
a la rigueur = if need be
`
au cas ou = in the case in which
Au cas ou les discussions seront bloqu´ es = in case discussion is foreclosed
` e
au secours! / au voleur! = help! / thief!
`
manger a l™indienne = to eat squatting down
a la francaise = in the French style
` ¸

307 a to mark responsibility
`
`
a vous d™ˆ tre positif = it™s up to you to be positive
e
` ˆ
a vous de simpli¬er la tache = it™s up to you to simplify the task
`
c™est a lui de trouver une justi¬cation = it™s up to him to ¬nd a justi¬cation
`
a moi le tour = it™s my turn

308 a expressing measurement
`
`
a 21 ans = at 21 (years old)
elle a au moins 18 ans = she™s at least 18
`
un billet a 10 euros = a ten-euro note
` `
a une vitesse de 90 km a l™heure = at 90 km per hour
` `
rouler a 120 km a l™heure = to travel at 120 km an hour
`
Paris se trouve a 20 km d™ici = Paris is 20 km from here
il habite a au moins 5 km d™ici— = he lives at at least 5 km from here
`
`
ce produit est pr´ sent a forte concentration = this product is present in a strong
e
concentration

see du moins 390.

309 a expressing a compound phenomenon
`
Where English uses one noun adjectivally to qualify another, French often has recourse
`
to a construction with a.
un verre a bi` re / au vin— = a beer / wine glass
`e

245
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



`
un pot a ¬‚eurs = a ¬‚ower pot
`
un moulin a vent = a windmill
`
de la soupe a l™oignon = onion soup
une sauce au vin = wine sauce
e`
une cuill` re a soupe d™eau plate = a soupspoon of still water
une femme aux cheveux blonds = a blonde
un homme au nez tordu = a man with a twisted nose
`
une machine a traitement de texte = a word-processor
taper a la machine = to type
`

see de 337.

310 a + in¬nitive
`
`e
A l™´ couter, vous diriez qu™il aime se donner en spectacle = listening to him,
you™d say he liked making a spectacle of himself
`
A la voir, on n™aurait jamais cru qu™elle etait riche = looking at her, you™d never
´
think she was well off

311 a cause de = because of
`
`
A cause de la chaleur il a pris une douche froide = because of the heat he took a cold
shower

312 a condition de = subject to
`
`
A condition de is only used with in¬nitives “
`
A condition de comprendre les dangers, vous pouvez pro¬ter des joies du
sexe en toutes circonstances = subject to understanding the dangers, you can enjoy sex in
each and every situation
` ` ´
A condition d™af¬cher une endurance mentale a toute epreuve, il est
possible de surmonter les douleurs rencontr´ es lors des marathons = subject
e
to possessing high-resistance mental endurance, it™s possible to overcome the pain encountered during
marathons

313 a cote de = next to, in comparison with
` ˆ´
` ˆe
Sa maison se trouve a cot´ de la mienne = her house is next to mine
ˆe ˆ ˆ
A cot´ des icones d™hier, celles d™aujourd™hui vendent plutot le vice, le niais
= in comparison with the icons of yesteryear, today™s purvey vice and stupidity

314 a¬n de = in order to
A¬n de is used only with in¬nitives “
A¬n d™´ viter des ennuis judiciaires, agissez la nuit “ le clair de la lune
e
assure la discr´ tion et accentue la tension = in order to avoid problems with the law,
e
act at night time “ moonlight ensures discretion and increases tension

246
318 apres / d™apres = after / according to, from
` `



A¬n de pro¬ter au maximum des asperges, il faut les choisir cassantes et
de couleur franche = in order to get the most out of asparagus, you have to choose them when
they snap easily and are uniform in colour

315 a force de = by virtue of
`
`
Je sais que c™est a force de tous vos efforts que vous avez r´ ussi ce test = I
e
know that it was by virtue of all your efforts that you passed that test
`
A force d™enchaˆner les ¬‚irts d™un soir, vous risquez de vous noyer dans des
±
aventures sans lendemain = by virtue of a series of one-night stands, you run the risk of
drowning yourself in a series of liaisons which lead nowhere

316 a moins de = unless
`
`
A moins de is used only with an in¬nitive “
`
Une voiture c™est comme une femme, a moins de s™en servir, on se la fait
piquer = a car is like a woman, unless you use it someone will pinch it
`
A moins d™ˆ tre irr´ prochable, le brossage des dents manuel risque d™ˆ tre
e e e
trop super¬ciel = unless it™s absolutely thorough, cleaning your teeth by hand runs the danger of
being too super¬cial

317 a partir de = from
`
`
Je serai chez moi a partir de trois heures =I™ll be at home from three o™clock

318 apres / d™apres = after / according to, from
` `
Apr` s alone is usually equivalent to English after; d™apr` s = according to, from
e e

apr` s
e
apr` s le d´ but de l™´ mission = after the programme begins / began
e e e
J™arriverai apr` s 21 heures = I™ll arrive after 9 o™clock
e
S´ lectionn´ g´ n´ tiquement apr` s f´ condation in vitro = genetically selected after in
e eee ee
vitro fertilisation
´
Apr` s les etudes, le temps de l™emploi = after your studies, it™s time to get a job
e
Note the difference between the French and English versions for the following
examples
Apr` s avoir ¬ni mon yaourt nature = having ¬nished / after ¬nishing my natural yoghurt
e
Apr` s lui avoir offert un bracelet en ¬bres naturelles = having offered / after
e
offering her a bracelet made of natural ¬bres
`
Apr` s s™ˆ tre fait greffer un portable a l™oreille = having had a mobile grafted onto his
e e
ear

d™apr` s
e
D™apr` s ce qu™il a dit = from what he said
e
D™apr` s moi, il ne faut jamais vous priver de dessert = in my opinion you must
e
never deprive yourself of a dessert

247
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



D™apr` s la t´ l´ vision, il y aurait dix victimes = according to the telly there were ten
e ee
casualties

319 a travers = through
`
e`
Elle m™a appel´ a travers ses larmes = she shouted to me through her tears
`
Je l™ai vue qui fumait a travers la porte = I saw her smoking through the door
`
Voyager a travers l™Europe / le temps = to travel through Europe / time
`
Sentir le froid a travers ses vˆ tements = to feel the cold through your clothes
e

320 au bout de = at the end of
`
Au bout de 6 km de marche, on commence a developper de nouvelles
capacit´ s respiratoires = at the end of 6 kms walking, you begin to develop new respiratory
e
capabilities
Au bout de la cour tu trouveras des pots int´ ressants = at the end of the yard you™ll
e
¬nd some interesting pots
au bout d™un an = a year later
Il est arriv´ au bout de trente minutes = he arrived half an hour later
e

321 au cours de = during, in the course of
C™´ tait au cours d™un rendez-vous avec un copain = it was during a meeting with a
e
mate
Elle arrivera au cours de l™apr` s-midi = she™ll arrive in the course of the afternoon
e

322 au-dela de = beyond, apart from
`
`
Au-dela de l™originalit´ , ils n™offrent pas grand™chose = beyond / apart from their
e
originality, they don™t have much to offer

323 au-dessous de = underneath, beneath, below
ˆ
Il y avait une station de m´ tro au-dessous de leur hotel = there was an
e
underground station beneath their hotel
La temp´ rature est au-dessous de 4 degr´ s = the temperature is below 4 degrees
e e
Ce poste est au-dessous de ses capacit´ s = this job is beneath her ability
e
au-dessous de la moyenne = below average

324 au-dessus de = over, above
ˆ
Ce chateau f´ erique se trouve au-dessus d™une vall´ e pittoresque = this
e e
fairy-tale castle stands above a picturesque valley
Un ch` que au-dessus de 1000 euros = a cheque for over 1000 euros
e
Vous pensez que c™est au-dessus de vos comp´ tences de vous passer de
e
sucre? = you think it™s beyond your ability to do without sugar?
au-dessus de la moyenne = above average

248
330 chez = at the home of, among



325 au lieu de = instead of
Ce soir j™esp` re que tu porteras une jupe au lieu de ce jean affreux = I hope
e
you™ll wear a skirt instead of those awful jeans this evening
Il m™a apport´ un Pepsi au lieu d™un Coke = he brought me a Pepsi instead of a Coke
e

326 aupres de = in relation to, in comparison with, among
`
Aupr` s des autres mascaras celui-ci est excellent = in comparison with the other
e
mascaras this one is outstanding
Il s™est plaint aupr` s du directeur = he complained to the headteacher
e
Un sondage aupr` s de quatre mille personnes = a survey among 4000 people
e

327 autour de = around, round, about
Il a voyag´ autour du monde = he™s travelled around the world
e
Elle a organis´ un colloque autour du th` me du tatouage = she organised a
e e
conference on the theme of tattooing

328 avant = before (of time)
Tu dois rentrer avant onze heures = you must be home before 11 o™clock
Il se l` ve avant vous = he gets up before you
e

avant de + in¬nitive
`
Avant de vous engager, essayez de faire attention ou vous mettez les
pieds = before committing yourself, try to be careful where you stick your feet
`
Avant d™ajouter les framboises, faites dorer a la poˆ le 75 grammes
e
d™amandes = before adding the raspberries, lightly brown 75 grammes of almonds in a pan

329 avec = with
Il est arriv´ avec sa petite amie = he turned up with his girlfriend
e
C™est un v´ lo avec vingt vitesses = it™s a bike with twenty gears
e
Un d´ pistage compatible avec un enfant nouveau-n´ = screening compatible with a
e e
newly born infant
Nous avons pris le dessert avec des cerises = we went for the dessert with cherries
Il est tr` s gentil avec votre nouvel assistant = he™s very nice to your new assistant
e
Une m´ thode qui ne marche qu™avec la complicit´ de tout le monde = a
e e
method that only works with everyone™s complicity / if everyone colludes

330 chez = at the home of, among
`
Je serai chez moi a partir de trois heures = I™ll be at home from 3 o™clock
La plupart des chutes ont lieu chez soi = most falls occur in the home
Il vous appelle chez vous le weekend pour r´ gler quelques petits d´ tails = he
e e
calls you at home at the weekend to sort out a few minor details

249
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Cela peut provoquer de graves troubles du syst` me nerveux chez le
e
foetus = that can cause major problems in the nervous system for the foetus

331 compris / y compris = including
Y compris is used when the preposition precedes the noun, but compris alone when
it follows, in which case it agrees with the gender and number of the noun (see 198) “
service compris / service non compris = including service / excluding service
TVA comprise / non comprise = including VAT / excluding VAT
´ `e
Il y aura cinq epreuves sportives, y compris un saut a l™´ lastique et une
demi-heure de kayak = there™ll be ¬ve sporting challenges, including a bungee jump and half an
hour in a kayak
Un demi-verre de Vanish suf¬t pour effacer toutes les taches, y compris les
taches de vin et d™herbe “ half a glass of Vanish is enough to get rid of all stains, including
wine and grass stains

332 contre = against
Je n™ai rien contre les Anglais = I haven™t got anything against the English
Il a chang´ deux mille livres contre des euros = he changed two thousand pounds into
e
euros
Les tests contre placebo le prouvent = tests with a placebo prove it
Lutter contre la douleur = to ¬ght against pain

333 dans = in, from, during
dans expressing position
dans l™espace = in space
dans l™air = in the air
dans la r´ gion parisienne = in the Paris area
e
dans la capitale = in the capital
dans l™a´ roport = in the airport (buildings)
e
dans le parking = in the carpark
travailler dans la mine— = to work in a mine
ˆ
etre dans la maison = to be in the house (not outside)
dans la campagne / le jardin = in the country / the garden
dans le train = in the train
dans l™eau = in the water
J™aime les vacances dans les Alpes = I love holidays in the Alps
La Butte Montmartre, c™est mon coin pr´ f´ r´ dans Paris = the Butte Montmartre
ee e
is my favourite spot in Paris

250
335 de indicating possession



Il y a eu beaucoup de bruit dans la rue = there was a lot of noise in the street
Il est tomb´ dans l™eau = he fell into the water
e
La preuve dans ce num´ ro = the proof is in this issue
e
Dans l™intimit´ du fond de teint = in the intimacy of foundation cream
e
Du mercure dans le thon = mercury in tuna
Ma grand-m` re pr´ f` re boire dans une tasse en porcelaine = my grandmother
e ee
prefers to drink out of a china cup
Elle a pris son pull dans le tiroir = she took her jumper out of the drawer

see 391 for discussion of different prepositions translating English in

dans expressing time
dans les ann´ es quatre-vingt-dix = in the 1990s
e
dans les prochains jours = in the next few days
J™arriverai dans vingt minutes— = I™ll be there in 20 minutes
Je le ferai dans la semaine = I™ll do it during the week
Je le ferai dans dix jours = I™ll do it in ten days™ time

see 357 en below and also 391

334 de
`
De occurs with many different values and uses and, with a, is the most commonly
encountered preposition in French. It is most frequently used to indicate some association
or link of possession between two nouns. In many cases, the English version of a French
phrase with de does not require a preposition. The following examples illustrate typical
uses.

335 de indicating possession
L™´ quipe de foot de France = the French football team
e
Des cours de n´ erlandais et d™anglais = courses in Dutch and English
e
La c´ r´ monie d™ouverture = the opening ceremony
ee
Le meilleur athl` te du pays = the best athlete in the country
e
Les meilleurs aliments de la gamme offerte aux enfants = the best foods in the
range for children
Une place de parking vide = an empty parking space
La cause principale de mon anxi´ t´ = the main cause of my anxiety
ee
C™est un style de vie qui me plaˆt = it™s a way of life that appeals to me
±
J™interpr` te la petite amie d™un des potes du h´ ros = I play the girlfriend of one of
e e
the hero™s mates

251
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



Jacqueline Lens, responsable de la communication chez R´ f´ rences =
ee
Jacqueline Lens, in charge of communication for ˜R´f´rences™
ee
Vous avez des souvenirs de votre temps de serveuse? = have you got some memories
of your time as a waitress?
Qu™est-ce qui vous d´ goute? “ L™odeur et le gout du chou-¬‚eur = what turns you
eˆ ˆ
off? “ The smell and taste of cauli¬‚ower
Vous b´ n´ ¬ciez de nombreuses possibilit´ s de promotion = you bene¬t from
ee e
numerous opportunities for promotion
Vous trouverez sur notre site internet une description d´ taill´ e des pro¬ls
e e
que nous recherchons = you™ll ¬nd on our internet site a detailed description of the types of
people we™re looking for

336 de expressing place, origin
Le train de / a destination de Paris = the Paris train (for Paris)
`
Le train de / venant de Paris = the Paris train (from Paris)
D™ici a Paris c™est cent kilom` tres = from here to Paris is 100 km
` e
Elle vient de Paris = she comes from Paris
L™Europe de l™Ouest = Western Europe
L™Afrique du Sud = South Africa
L™Am´ rique du Nord = North America
e
Le nord de l™Am´ rique = north / northern America
e
Je viens d™arriver de la Roumanie = I™ve just got back from Romania
Elle vient de l™autre cot´ de la ville = she comes from the other side of town
ˆe
Un enfant de son mariage pr´ c´ dent = a child from his previous marriage
ee
Il est n´ de parents immigr´ s du Pakistan = he was born to parents who had
e e
immigrated from Pakistan
Un disque qui passe de la plainte soul au murmure suggestif = a record that
goes from plaintive soul to suggestive murmurings
`
A l™issue de l™op´ ration = at the end of the operation
e
Au milieu de cette forˆ t de b´ ton et d™acier = in the midst of this forest of concrete and
e e
steel
Pour se d´ placer de batiment en batiment = to move from building to building
ˆ ˆ
e
S™inspirant de la mythologie grecque = taking his inspiration from Greek mythology
Il convient de rester prudent si la proposition vient d™une soci´ t´ peu ou ee
pas connue = it™s appropriate to be prudent if the offer comes from a ¬rm that is little known or
completely unknown


252
338 de with expressions of quantity



337 de expressing the idea of containing, measurement
un verre de vin— = a glass of wine (not a wine glass)
un pot de ¬‚eurs = a pot of ¬‚owers (not a ¬‚ower pot)
un pot de yaourt = a pot of yoghurt
une compote de pommes = stewed apple
une bouteille de bi` re = a bottle of beer
e
quatre blancs de poulet = four chicken breasts
un sachet de vanille sucr´ =a sachet of sweetened vanilla
e
une fusion de c` dre, de santal, de bois de rose = a fusion of cedar, sandalwood and
e
rosewood
une cuiller´ e a caf´ de jus de citron = a teaspoon of lemon juice
e` e
un sac de riz vaut mieux que les pommes de terre = a bag of rice is better for you
than potatoes
250 grammes de fromage de ch` vre = 250 g of goats™ cheese
e
une maison de poup´ es = dolls™ house
e
l™ensemble de mes dessins = the entire collection of my drawings
un article de 200 mots = an article 200 words long
un quart d™heure = quarter of an hour
on a deux heures de retard = we™re two hours late
avancer de deux jours = to bring forward by two days
r´ duire de cinq euros = reduce by ¬ve euros
e
battre quelqu™un de deux m` tres / d™un dixi` me de seconde = to beat someone
e e
by two metres / by a tenth of a second

`
see 309 a

338 de with expressions of quantity
J™ai envie d™explorer des voies nouvelles, de prendre beaucoup de risques =
I want to explore many new paths, to take lots of risks
Son imagination d´ lirante ne se tarit pas “ il continue de mettre en sc` ne
e e
un grand nombre de vedettes dans des d´ cors kitsch = his wild imagination
e
doesn™t dry up “ he continues to present a large number of celebrities in kitsch surroundings
`
Ecrivez un journal intime ou vous vous inventerez plein d™histoires
extraordinaires = keep a diary in which you™ll invent masses of amazing stories about yourself
30 ans d™exp´ rience “ parce que la science des plantes ne s™improvise pas,
e
`
Klorane met a pro¬t 30 ann´ es d™exp´ rience et de recherche pour vous faire
e e
b´ n´ ¬cier de leurs bienfaits = 30 years™ experience “ because plant science can™t be
ee


253
A STUDENT GUIDE TO FRENCH GRAMMAR



improvised, Klorane takes advantage of 30 years™ experience and research to help you pro¬t from their
bene¬cial effects
10% de la population francaise gagnent plus de 1600 euros nets par mois =
¸
10% of the French population earns more than 1600 euros net a month
25% des femmes de plus de 35 d´ clarent vivre dans la solitude sexuelle,
e
contre 15% des hommes = 25% of women over 35 declare that they live in sexual solitude,
against 15% of men
La majorit´ de ceux qui ont coch´ la bonne r´ ponse ne savaient pas ce
e e e
qu™ils faisaient = the majority of those who ticked the right box didn™t know what they were doing
La plupart d™entre les femmes qui ont r´ pondu au questionnaire ne
e
s™imaginent pas avoir une relation sexuelle sans etre amoureuses = most of
ˆ
the women who answered the questionnaire don™t conceive of having a sexual relationship without being
in love
Ce n™est pas un scoop, la moiti´ d™entre nous trompe notre ¬anc´ = it™s no
e e
scoop “ half of us deceive our ¬anc´s
e
La moiti´ de ceux qui ont des fantasmes n™osent pas en parler = half the people
e
with fantasies don™t dare talk about them
Note the use of either a singular or a plural verb with moiti´ ; with other expressions
e
of quantity, including la plupart, a plural verb is used; see 242“244.

339 de expressing function, material
un livre de grammaire = a grammar book
un cours de francais = a French course
¸
une salle de r´ union = a meeting room
e
des prot´ ines de soja et de bl´ = proteins of soya and wheat
e e
un petit sac de sport = a small sports bag
ses lentilles de contact vertes = her green contact lenses
un pantalon en toile de coton = cotton trousers
des boucles d™oreilles en forme de fuchsia = earrings in the shape of fuchsias
un sp´ cialiste d™informatique = a computer expert
e

340 de expressing time
d™heure en heure = from one hour to the next
de temps en temps = from time to time
du matin au soir = from morning to evening
de lundi a mercredi = from Monday to Wednesday
`
du temps des ancˆ tres = at the time of our ancestors
e
Je serai la de dix-huit heures a vingt heures = I™ll be there from six to eight
` `

254
343 de with attribute of noun / pronoun



Je n™ai rien fait de la journ´ e = I haven™t done a thing all day
e
Une boutique pour les enfants de trois mois a douze ans = a shop for children
`
from three months to twelve years
Elle est enceinte de cinq mois = she™s ¬ve months pregnant

341 de indicating cause
Elle mourait d™envie de le voir = she was dying to see him
Ce disque eveillera des envies de protection et d™affection = this disc will arouse
´
a desire to be protective and tender
Il est mort de ses blessures / d™un cancer / d™une crise cardiaque = he died
from his wounds / cancer / a heart attack
Elle pleurait de joie / de rage / de d´ sespoir = she wept with joy / anger / despair
e
grelotter de froid = to shiver with cold

342 de expressing manner
d™une facon / mani` re amusante = in an amusing way
¸ e
C™est un ¬lm d™un gout un peu douteux = it™s a ¬lm of dubious taste
ˆ
Il faut tirer de toutes ses forces = you need to pull with all your might
Il a r´ pondu d™un geste obsc` ne = he replied with an obscene gesture
e e
Elle vit de haricots et lentilles = she lives on beans and lentils
frapper du pied = to kick

<<

. 11
( 19)



>>