PreS: Sorry for the length of this post. I feel like it was important for me to write out explicitly my investigations, because it feels like I repeatedly run into this question every year. Even if I don't arrive at an understanding of my questions, writing this out explicitly will help me investigate my confusion when it comes up again in future months.
I learned early that indirect objects require being introduced by a preposition (often à or de). I also learned that the same verb (eg "Parler") will have different meanings, and if you want to use one meaning, you must use à, and to use a different meaning, you must use de.
For example, two pages written for learners of French are this page about "Penser", and this page that tell me that there are eight different verbs that change their meaning, depending on if à or de are used.
This is the contents of the rest of this question:
First, I investigate if the WordReference pages for "Penser" and "Parler" can give me the same information as those pages written for learners of French give me. I will come to the conclusion that, yes, I can get that information from WR.
I then investigate similar questions about "Porter" to mean "to wear something". I came to understand (in a different question I posted), that when porter means "to wear something", it is always "Porter DE qqch", and I wanted to see if WordReference could give me this information. After looking up "porter" on WR, I end up being confused, which led me to write this question.
INVESTIGATING: DOES WordReference EXPLAIN Parler à VS Parler de?
This is the WordReference page for parler. If I look through all its entries where it says "vtr ind" ("indirectly transitive verb"), I see that all the WR entries that mean "talk about something" (ie in the English translation on the right column) use "de qqch", and all entries that mean "talk to someone" use "à qqn".
There are about five entries to look at with meanings of "talk about something" or "talk to someone". Two of them are in the screenshot below:
I can conclude, then, that I must use "de qch" if I want to use "parler" to mean "talk about something", and "à qqn" if I want to mean "talk to someone".
INVESTIGATING: DOES WordReference EXPLAIN Penser à VS Penser de?
Similarly, looking at all the entries for penser, there is only one entry with "penser de":
Strangely, it says "vtr + prep" instead of "vtr ind". I'm assuming that "vtr + prep" means "This entry requires a direct object ("vtr"), and a prepositional-indirect-object ("+ prep")" (and that "prep" means prepositional-indirect-object, instead of a dative-indirect-object nor a locative-indirect-object).
Anyways, I can skim through all the entries, and I can see that "penser de qch" means "to have an opinion about something", and the other entries have meanings closer to "to have consideration for something/someone" or "to remember someone". To corroborate this guess of mine, I use Google Translate to translate this page, so that I can translate the French definitions (in brackets, in the middle column).
So, it seems that I can use WordReference to get similar information about "Parler à" vs "Parler de", and "Penser à" vs "Penser de", as the websites that explicitly explain this to beginners.
In a recent question, the following two sentences were mentioned. They both use "porter" to mean "to wear [clothing or accessories]":
Elle ne voulut plus porter d'autre bonnet que celui-ci.
Elle ne voulut plus en porter d'autre
Elle portait des jolies perles roses.
Elle en portait des roses.
(Looking at the WordReference page):
I wondered if "porter" to mean "to wear clothing" always required "de" (that is, is it always "Porter DE qqch"?), so I looked at the WR page for "porter". There was only one entry that seemed to be about wearing clothing:
There are two concerns that come to my mind:
- All the example sentences use "de". However, this entry does not say "porter de [qqch]" on the left column.
So I am confused, now:
- When I use "porter" to mean "wear clothing", must I always use "de", or is it just a coincidence that the example sentences all use "de"? Is it impossible to say, for example, "I wear my red shoes every Monday" ("Je portes mes souliers rouge chaque lundi") or "I wear the red shoes that my friend gave me, every Monday" ("Je portes les souliers que mon ami m'a données, chaque lundi")? (I'm intentionally asking about 'les' and 'mes', by the way, because these are definite determiners, which have consequences on if I can use the pronoun 'en' with these sentences)
(Looking at the Collins tab on the WR page):
When I take a look at the Collins tab of the WordReference page, I don't get any more help in understanding if "porter" requires a "de", when it means "to wear clothing". It does show me, however, an example sentence that says "Elle porte une jolie robe bleue". This sentence doesn't use "de".
I might make a guess that if I use "porter" to mean "to wear clothing", I don't have to use "de" to introduce the object, but that (maybe??) it will always be an indefinite noun phrase? And that that's why I was told in a different question that it's always "Porter DE something" when talking about wearing clothing?
So, given all of the above, I have many questions.
About the specific usage of "porter":
- Is it possible to say "I wear my red shoes every Monday" ("Je portes mes souliers rouge chaque lundi") or "I wear the red shoes that my friend gave me, every Monday" ("Je portes les souliers que mon ami m'a données, chaque lundi")?
About "vtr ind" vs "vtr + prep":
- When investigating "Penser de", I posted a screenshot; I noticed the WordReference entry said "vtr + prep" instead of "vtr ind". Was I correct in my guess that "vtr + prep" means "When using this verb with this meaning, it requires a direct-object, and then an prepositional-indirect-object"?
About French-English dictionaries:
Should I expect a good French-English dictionary to always tell me when an indirect object requires to be introduced by a specific preposition, such as à or de, or some other preposition? And will a good French-English dictionary tell me about a change in meaning that will occur when using à vs using de (as in Parler à vs Parler de or Penser à vs Penser de)? Or is this information that French-English dictionaries are not meant to provide, and I'm only lucky if I can make guesses about this when looking up the word in a French-English dictionary?
I notice that the "Porter" entry in WR does not say "vtr ind". Is porter in fact taking a direct object in each of the following sentences? If that is the case, then part of my confusion (in this entire post) might be confusing "de is required for some indirect objects (and you can look up whether an indirect object requires de vs à)" versus "some direct objects start with de (but you get to decide whether that direct object starts with de, une, les, etc; and a dictionary isn't relevant for telling you about this)".
- "Elle portait des jolies perles roses."
- "Elle ne voulut plus porter d'autre bonnet que celui-ci."
- "Ma collègue aime porter des bijoux clinquants."
- "Elle porte une jolie robe bleue."