In the wordreference dictionary, there are entries such as "parler de [qch]" or "parler à [qqn]".


1) Suppose we're using "verb + de" or "verb + à", as seen in a wordreference entry. Can there ever be words in between the verb, and the "de" or "à"? Or, instead, does the "de" or "à" always immediately come after the verb?

(The reason I ask this question, is that one of the difficulties I have been having as a French learner is parsing long sentences. When I see a "de" or an "à", sometimes I have trouble knowing what to "attach" the "de" or "à" to.

For example, with the sentence "Il tue ma volonté de chanter",
- I sometimes want to "attach" the "de" to the verb (as if there might be a wordreference entry for "tuer de"),
- instead of realizing that the "de" is "attached" to the noun "volonté" (as in "volonté de chanter").

(I may not realize that I'm supposed to see the group of words "ma volonté de chanter" as one unit, because the literal English translation would be "my desire of singing", which is strange English; more natural English would instead expect "ma volonté à chanter", as in "my desire to sing")).

  • 2
    take a look at this : lepointdufle.net/ressources_fle/… (verbes transitifs indirects). In the case of intransitives verbs, adverbs can be added between the verb and the preposition (je vais parfois à la montagne). Btw, the position of the adverb can express a difference ; Dites tout de suite à P. que j'arrive (tell him right now) / Dites à P. que j'arrive tout de suite (I'm coming right now)
    – G.P
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


The answer is yes, but rarely.

Those verbs are called "transitifs indirect", which means that they are followed by a "complément d'objet indirect". And a "complément d'objet indirect (COI)" must be introduced by a preposition.

The COI is usually placed directly after the verb (except if it is a pronoun).

Je parle **à mes collègues**.

Je **leur** parle.

And it is always the first "groupe complément" in the sentence.

Je parle **de mon travail** au bureau avec mes collègues. 

However, are also usually placed directly after the verb. In this case, they are before the COI

je parle souvent à mes collègues. 

To make things even more complex, the adverb is not placed just after the verbal group with composite tenses, but the COI is.

J'ai beaucoup parlé de mes collègues.

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