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Complete post:

Oct

22

2013

« Moi, je n'aime pas du tout regarder des joueurs courir derrière un ballon ! »

«I don't like watching players run (around) after a ball!»

A listener sent us a question about the expression above, from one of our earlier lessons. Specifically, his question was:

In lesson 6, Amélie says: « Moi, je n'aime pas du tout regarder des joueurs courir derrière un ballon! »
Why does the verb courir not take the form courent…?

The answer to the question is that les joueurs is not the 'subject' of the sentence in this case. On the other hand, je is the subject while the object is not liking (or not having any interest in) seeing people engage in this kind of activity.

In this kind of context, we will find the infinitive used in French. Consider, for example:

  • Je n'aime pas regarder les enfants faire de telles choses.I don't like seeing the children do such things.
  • Je n'aime pas le voir fumer.I don't like seeing him smoke.
  • Je préfère le voir étudier.I prefer seeing him study.

Finally…

Of course, if les joueurs were the subject of the sentence, we would indeed use the 3rd person plural of the present tense:

  • Les joueurs courent après le ballon. The players are running (around) after the ball.
  • Peux-tu voir ces joueurs qui courent après le ballon? Can you see those players who are running (around) after the ball?

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