Pour + infinitive = In order to

Look at these expressions of purpose:

Elle a acheté de la farine pour faire un gâteau.
She bought flour (in order) to make a cake.

Je vais au cinéma pour voir un film.
I'm going to the cinema (in order) to see a film.

Pour y aller, tu as besoin de prendre le bus.
To go there, you need to take the bus.

Je prends des leçons pour apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons to learn French.

To express a purpose in French (in order to [do something]), we use the preposition pour + [infinitif].

You can also use the more elegant expression afin de + [infinitif] in the same context:

Je prends des leçons afin d'apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons (in order) to learn French.


Case of pour + reflexive verbs

Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller.
I'm going to my room (in order) to get dressed.

Tu lis pour te relaxer.
You read to relax.

Nous allons à la fête foraine pour nous amuser.
We're going to the funfair to have fun.

Les hommes utilisent des rasoirs pour se raser.
Men use razors to shave.

To express purpose with reflexive verbs, you will follow this pattern:  

Pour + me/te/se/nous/vous/se + infinitive 

ATTENTION:
The reflexive pronoun needs to match the subject of the verb (who's doing the action) :

Je vais dans la salle de bains pour se laver me laver.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je prends des leçons afin d'apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons (in order) to learn French.


Elle a acheté de la farine pour faire un gâteau.
She bought flour (in order) to make a cake.


Nous allons à la fête foraine pour nous amuser.
We're going to the funfair to have fun.


Je vais au cinéma pour voir un film.
I'm going to the cinema (in order) to see a film.


Tu lis pour te relaxer.
You read to relax.


Les hommes utilisent des rasoirs pour se raser.
Men use razors to shave.


Je prends des leçons pour apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons to learn French.


Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller.
I'm going to my room (in order) to get dressed.


Pour y aller, tu as besoin de prendre le bus.
To go there, you need to take the bus.


Q&A Forum 8 questions, 19 answers

AdriannaA2Kwiziq community member

"Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller"

Hi, what's the difference between saying "Je vais dans ma chambre" as in the lesson, and "Je vais à ma chambre"? Do they both mean I'm going to my room

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

The two sentences mean almost the same thing, but not quite. Therefore it would be helpful for a native speaker to chime in.

Je vais à ma chambre. -- I'm going to my room.
Je vais dans ma chambre. -- I'm going into my room.

In French, however, if you want to send your kid to his room, you send him dans sa chambre. Whereas in English the second sentence with dans sounds a bit awkward (unless in some specific circumstances), in French it is perfectly ok.

"Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller"

Hi, what's the difference between saying "Je vais dans ma chambre" as in the lesson, and "Je vais à ma chambre"? Do they both mean I'm going to my room

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SeanB2Kwiziq community member

Why does the example have pour y aller? Why is the "y" necessary? Merci!

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Pour y aller tu as besoin de prendre le bus. -- To go there you need to take the bus

Why does the example have pour y aller? Why is the "y" necessary? Merci!

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SawKwiziq community member

J’ai achetè du pain à faire un gâteau . Is that right to use à instead of using pour ?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Saw,

 No, you cannnot say 'à faire' un gâteau only 'pour faire' is correct.

e.g 

Je lui ai téléphoné pour l'inviter = I called (him) to invite him

Je leur ai parlé pour expliquer mon comportement = I spoke to them in order to explain my behaviour

Hope this helps!

J’ai achetè du pain à faire un gâteau . Is that right to use à instead of using pour ?

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SawKwiziq community member

Anyone pls kindly explain me

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team member
Already answered.

Anyone pls kindly explain me

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StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

can you omit 'pour' ?

Just to be clear, in expressions like : 'Je vais au cinéma pour voir un film' ... presumably this implies that it is wrong to just say 'Je vais au cinéma voir un film'

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

He Stewart,

yes, in these cases you can't do without "pour".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks Chris, I'm now OK with this.
AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I'm not a native speaker either, but I would have given you the opposite answer. I think pour is only used to stress the purpose, it can be omitted.

There's a song by Boris Vian with the line:

J'vais au cinéma voir des films suédois


StewartC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Hi Alan, Thanks for your input ... is there someone else out there who can further clarify this point please?

can you omit 'pour' ?

Just to be clear, in expressions like : 'Je vais au cinéma pour voir un film' ... presumably this implies that it is wrong to just say 'Je vais au cinéma voir un film'

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DavidB1Kwiziq community member

Do you "voir un film" or do you "regarder un film"?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Just to add to this excellent discussion you could only say:

"Je suis en train de regarder un film." (not voir here).

It's the same distinction as-

 To hear (entendre) and to listen (écouter) .

The former is a passive action, the latter requires input from the subject .

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
For once, this is exactly as in English (you don't get lucky very often ;)): Je vais voir un film -- I am going to see a movie. Je vais regarder un film -- I am going to watch a movie. -- Chris (not a native speaker).
DavidB1Kwiziq community member
Thanks Chris - so either are OK to use. - I suppose in English you normally see a movie in a cinema, but watch a movie on TV - but it's a fine distinction. David
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
I am not aware that this distinction carries over to French. But that certainly is a fine point which needs the input of a native speaker. -- Chris.
StevenB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

According to Duolingo, "regarder" is used with more intent while "voir" is used more passively

Elle va voir la ville - She's going to see the city

Le chat regarde le poisson - The cat is (actively) watching the fish 

Do you "voir un film" or do you "regarder un film"?

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HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"to my room"

The lesson shows"Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller ". Why are we using "dans" here and not ' a ma chambre" -- to my room.
Asked 2 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
Hi Helen,

the use of directional prepositions in French is different from English. Also, the French don't differentiate as acutely between being somewhere (location) and going somewhere (direction).

Je suis dans ma chambre = I am in my room.
Je vais dans ma chambre = I am going to my room.

The difference of location versus direction is carried by the verb (je suis vs. je vais).

-- Chris (not a native speaker).
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Helen, This seems like a very good question to me; I had not looked at it like this previously. I will be interested to learn the reasoning, too. Bonne journée
HelenA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
I'm hoping Aurélie responds:)
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Chris, Merci for your excellent explanation. Ron

"to my room"

The lesson shows"Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller ". Why are we using "dans" here and not ' a ma chambre" -- to my room.

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NimA1Kwiziq community member

pour y aller

hello, why is the y in the middle
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Nim !

In French, you cannot use the verb aller (to go) without mentioning "where" you're going.
The pronoun y here means "there" and is simply used to recall the necessary destination :)

Have a look at our lesson on y :
Y = There (adverbial pronoun)">Y = There (adverbial pronoun)">Y = There (adverbial pronoun)">Y = There (adverbial pronoun)

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
«y» is the pronoun for a place or location. Another example: J'y vais --> I am going there. Here is the lessons that relates to this question: https://french.kwiziq.com/my-languages/french/view/711

pour y aller

hello, why is the y in the middle

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