• D’autres incidents comme celui sont à prévoir.

The verb prévoir is transitive, and means forsee or expect. In the form "être à prévoir", does it have a passive meaning "can be forseen or expected"?


3 Answers 3


That form "à + infinitif" expresses the goal of potentially accomplishing the action.

Je te sers quelque chose à boire ?

Something to drink.

C'est une chose à ne pas dire.

Something not to say.

Des tâches à faire.

Tasks to be done.

The action is in all cases about to be done (drinking something, not saying something...). Same form as English with "to + verb"!


That's correct, it means "It's to be expected".

We know more incidents are likely to happen in the future so you should get prepared for them.


You could translate your sentence by "Some more incidents are to be expected."

In this context, the verb "prévoir" is used in its passive form, as you were suggesting. The reason is that the sentence is not addressed to anyone in particular, it's impersonal and that is one of the biggest uses of passive voice in French.

You can learn more about active/passive voice in French here. As states this document:

"Passive verbs allow you to give a more objective, more diplomatic or more impersonal tone to your document."

  • 2
    That's wrong, passive would involve the use of the past participle, it would be "être prévu" and "incidents" would be the subject, yet here "incident" is still complement of the verbe prévoir.
    – Chewie
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 21:23
  • 1
    Yes you are right, this is not the passive form. I got confused because the purpose is the same as the passive form, which is to make the tone impersonal. I can't find the formal name of this form "être à prévoir" though.
    – Reyedy
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 11:24
  • I don't think there's a particular name for it, it is just a so-called "tournure de phrase"
    – Chewie
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 10:54

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