why isn't it "Premiere erreur de ne pas faire" but is "Premieur erreur a ne pas faire"?

why isn't it "Premiere erreur de ne pas faire" but is "Premieur erreur a ne pas faire"?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Leah !

This is an excellent question.
The difference here relates to impersonal expressions.

Here's the rule:
- When you have a real subject, like "première erreur" - i.e. to do. - and that the infinitive is used intransitively (without a object), then the structure is:
[subject/adjective] + à + [infinitive]

La première chose  à faire... 
The first thing to do... 
C'est bon  à savoir. 
That's good to know. 

- When you have a *dummy* subject - i.e. it is to do - the structure is:
il est/c'est + [adjective] + de + [infinitive]

Il est difficile de parler. / C'est difficile de parler. 
It's hard to talk. 
Il est important de faire confiance à ses amis. 
It's important to trust one's friends.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Helen !

Here it's not a case of impersonal expressions, but a case of reported (or indirect) speech, hence the use of de  : 

Je lui demande de venir.   -> I ask him to come.

Bonne journée !
Merci beaucoup! Cela m'aide. Hope I can remember it. Best, Leah
Je t'ai demandé de ne pas lui dire".  If this is a "real subject"and no direct object"wouldn't this be "à"? >> Je t'ai demandé à ne pas lui dire". Are we using de because there's an indirect object?

Bonsoir Aurelie,

Merci beaucoup!

why isn't it "Premiere erreur de ne pas faire" but is "Premieur erreur a ne pas faire"?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level >>
Ask a question
Clever stuff underway!