French Grammar: The Infinitive with [AVANT DE]

French Grammar: The Infinitive with [AVANT DE]

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French Grammar: The Infinitive with [AVANT DE]
la grammaire française: l’infinitif avec [avant de]

  • The infinitive form of a verb conveys the basic meaning of that verb.
  • AVANT DE + INFINITIVE = before … (doing something) or prior to … (doing something).


The infinitive form of a French verb is the form that ends with [-ER], [-IR], or [-RE]. Each of these infinitive endings is the equivalent of  “to …”  (i..e. to speak, to read, to take, etc.) in English. Often, an infinitive verb is conjugated when used in a sentence. But French infinitives are used in a variety of other ways, too.

To convey that one action precedes another in English, we often use the construction conjugated verb + ‘before’ + verb + [-ing]. To convey  this same idea in French, just use CONJUGATED VERB + AVANT DE + INFINITIVE VERB.  It’s easy!


L’enfant se brosse les dents avant de se coucher.
The child brushes his teeth before going to bed.

Je fais une liste avant de faire les courses.
I make a list before going grocery shopping.

Tu veux manger avant de sortir?
Do you (informal) want to eat before going out?

Il se rase avant de prendre une douche.
He shaves before taking a shower.

Nous promenons le chien avant de partir au travail.
We walk the dog before leaving for work.