Infinitive clause – proposition infinitive


Let's Define It!

What's an *infinitive clause*?

An infinitive clause (proposition infinitive in French) is a clause including a verb in the infinitive. Quite simple right?

This proposition infinitive can be an independent clause or a subordinate one.

As an independent clause, the infinitive clause can play a role similar to that of the imperative to express a command in impersonal terms, i.e. public advice, recipes, etc. --> "Ne pas jeter les ordures ici" (Do not dispose of trash here) or "Remuer pendant cinq minutes" (Mix for five minutes)

As an independent clause, the infinitive clause can also express an exclamation or interrogation. For example, "A qui faire confiance?" (Who to trust?)

As a subordinate clause, the infinitive clause can act as a direct object. In this case, the infinitive clause will be the direct object of a sensory verb (i.e. verbs of perception) such as voir (see), entendre (hear), regarder (look at), écouter (listen), etc. --> "J'entends chanter les oiseaux".  I hear the birds sing(ing). 


Let's Pronounce It!

What does it sound like in French?


Let's Have an Example or Two!

Can a little reinforcement do the trick?

Here, I'm providing a few sentences examples showing infinitive clauses.

"Ben écoutait les enfants rire dans la cour." Ben was listening to the children laughing in the backyard.   

"A qui se fier." Who to trust? 

"Nous regardions le volcan cracher son feu mortel" We were watching the volcano spit his lethal fire.

"Boire avec modération." Drink moderately.


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