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In a question I asked a few years ago, I learned that "viser à [infinitive]" is a fixed expression that means "to aim to do something". The WordReference page for viser, at the time, did not have an entry for this expression, but now it does.

I then wondered if such an entry for "viser à [infinitive]" was omitted from WordReference because it should be obvious to us that "viser" could be used in an expression that meant "to aim to do something", and that à would be used in this expression. I (vaguely) remember being told elsewhere, though, that even if we knew that viser could be used in an expression with this meaning, that a good dictionary should tell us if à or de is used, because there is no rule that can reliably tell us whether à or de should be used.

So, when I look at the Wiktionnaire page for viser, I'm expecting to find information stating that "viser à [faire qqch]" is an expression. But, I can't seem to figure out where it says that information. Is there a different page I have to look on Wiktionnaire to find out this information?

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  • It's under "Verbe 3". It's not really exceptional which would be why it's not shown as an expression. Sep 11 at 23:28
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Viser à is described in the wiktionary page in the Verbe 3 paragraph.

Avoir en vue une certaine fin, un certain résultat.

According to the writers, the preposition à is not strictly required so viser à is not listed as a specific expression.

On the other hand, the TLFi does list viser à as a set expression so it's a matter of opinion: whether viser in a sentence like Deux risques majeurs sont visés par cette disposition belongs to the Verbe 3 entry or not.

I would tend to agree with the TLFi as in that sentence, the meaning is closer to this one from the Verbe 1 entry:

Chercher à atteindre, à toucher.

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  • 1) so, if i undestand correctly, Wiktionnaire doesn't definitively tell me if which is correct, between: "viser [infinitive]" or "viser de [infinitive]" or "viser à [infinitive]"? (although, of course, maybe there are examples with "viser à", which might give me some clues)?
    – silph
    Sep 11 at 23:41
  • 2) (this is just a comment, not a question), but i'm getting increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that i cannot rely on a dictionary to tell me what prepositions are required after a verb, for a given meaning i intend when using the verb. maybe it is impossible for a dictionary to tell me this information, and that only thousands of hours of exposure will help me know? in this case (of needing to know what preposition (or lack of prepostiion) to use after a verb), writing my intended meaning using an English sentence, then using DeepL seems more reliable than trying to use a dictionary!
    – silph
    Sep 11 at 23:43
  • 3) does either the TLFi or Wiktionnaire help me know that "Le programme vise à réduire la pauvreté" is correct, but "Le programme vise de réduire la pauvreté" and "Le programme vise [__] réduire la pauvreté." are incorrect?
    – silph
    Sep 11 at 23:47
  • @silph L'expérience, monsieur, l'expérience... c'est ce qui vous donne la réponse correcte à chaque fois. Sep 11 at 23:48
  • The TLFi is a frozen work made by "professionals", the Wiktionary is a work in progress collectively created by anyone who want to participate. Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Dictionaries try to be exhaustive and give examples of what is been used but they usually do not give much examples of what is incorrect, as incorrectness has no limits...
    – jlliagre
    Sep 11 at 23:51

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